My house is quiet right now. My kids were at work with me this morning, we grabbed lunch and groceries, and now the boys are playing with legos and my daughter is reading. It’s gently raining outside. The windows are open and my dog is asleep at my feet.
Today is not a magical summer day. There are no adventures. Our calendar is much calmer this year, and for a few moments today, I began to feel guilty about that. Sometimes it’s hard to resist the social mantra that tells me that I need to make summer magical. Make a bucket list. Go on adventures and have planned fun everyday. I’ve tried that in the past - I just end up tired, my kids end up tired and dependent on me to tell them how to have fun.
Summer was magical when I was a kid because of the possibilities held in hours of unstructured time. Things to imagine. Books to read. Cookies and bread to learn to bake. (Even) TV to watch. Of course I loved swimming, and an occasional family vacation (usually to see extended family). But it was a season of rest in our typically very busy lives.
Dear mama who is feeling pressure to make your kids’ summer magical- there is magic in rest. Let them slow down enough to be bored. Let boredom help them remember how to imagine. Go to the library. Read books aloud. Get out the playdough. Scatter a jigsaw puzzle on the dining room table as an invitation to gather. Play together. Let them play in the bathtub until their toes get wrinkly. Tell them they can stay up as late as they want to finish that book.
And - work together. Weed the flowerbeds. Clean the house. Sort closets and gather donations. Make cookies for your firefighters and police. Visit a nursing home.
And if you have vacations and camps and getaways planned? Enjoy them! Every minute. And then come home and give yourself permission to rest.
You don’t need an overflowing calendar and an empty bank account to make this summer count. Part of the magic of summer is time to do all the small things that get pushed to the edges during the school year. Do not despise the small things. They will end up being the big things.