With a small backpack full of kid’s activities slung over her shoulder, she told me goodbye, opened the car door and sprinted to the front porch dodging the downpour on this rain-soaked Michigan morning. Summer vacation had officially begun and with so many parents who don’t get these, as my children call them, “88 glorious days” of summer vacation, there is a need for someone to watch the kids.
Most people don’t have the ability to take the summer off, nor the blessing of calling a subterranean iMac “the office”. Each summer when my kids were growing up, “The Wife” and I would play “52 Pickup” with our schedules to keep from having to send our kids off to camp or bring in a full-time sitter. Through a combination of kind employers, hard work and sprinkling of dumb luck, we were blessed each year to have the flexibility to move our work around. The schedule was never easy. It usually resulted in me working every weekday and her working 12 hour shifts every single weekend. Our personal time was nonexistent, but we managed to keep to our goal of always giving our kids a free summer. No waking them up at 6 am to pour them into the car for a drop-off at the babysitters. No pulling in last second favors to find a place for them to squat for the day. No last second call ins to the boss when you just couldn’t pull it off. We got to give our kids a free summer, no matter what it cost us.
A free summer to ride bikes all day.
A free summer to go to the Zoo just because.
A free summer to stay in and color when Mother Nature just didn’t cooperate.
A free summer to just hang out and enjoy those “88 glorious days”.
I looked up to the porch as she started to go inside and saw the little ones that she’d spend many of her summer days watching greet her. I hurried home to go through the schedule of Volleyball camps and commitments that would fill her Sister’s schedule as well. The little girls who we moved everything around so that they had a free summer each year, suddenly had so much to do. Not much time for the park. Not much time for the Zoo. Not much time for summer.
Seasons change. When the fall comes around and school starts back up, it doesn’t take long to miss summer. As much as you’ve built amazing memories and you love the beauty of the autumn to come, there’s something about the end of summer. Something you miss a little more. There’s just something magical about those “88 glorious days”. Cherish them.