The end of the school year is a frenzied dash to the finish line, each day and night filled with events: awards ceremonies, dances, final games and tournaments, graduations, school trips, parties, and picnics, and end-of-year, graduation, and June birthday parties. The overarching feeling is Summer Is Coming! It challenges proficient calendar jugglers to keep up with all the dates, times, and logistics.
It’s exhausting, and when the kids come home with their backpacks, frayed notebooks, piles of papers, and stubs of eraserless pencils, it mercifully ends, and vacation begins.
School-sponsored activities are done, and summer-sponsored activities take over.
Camps. Sleepovers. Swimming. Family trips. Yard sales. Library visits. Movies. Reunions. Cookouts. Theme parks. TV. Video games.
Driven by my enmity toward the listless wails of “We’re bored,” I suggest more activities.
“Take a bike ride.” “Invite a friend over.” “Come to the store with me.” “Bake something.” “Clean your room.”
For the love of everything holy, Clean Your Room.
Vacation days are longer than school days. Charged with filling the hours with activities of our own making, we start out strong, but eventually the burden of this task causes our summer vacation buzz to fade around the second week of summer.
My days don’t change much. Laundry still needs to be done and the dishwasher needs to be emptied. Food shopping must still happen; bills still need to be paid. Doctor appointments continue to be made and kept.
Wake-up and bed-times are more fluid. Meals are later, casual. Ice cream and popsicles become regular dietary supplements. Naps are encouraged and taken. Socks are forgotten and flip-flops take over. Friends come and go more often; neighbors emerge from their homes and have driveway conversations.
Summer vacation isn’t just a vacation from school. It’s a vacation from the norm; familiarly anticipated freedoms take the place of schedules and prescribed tasks. Learning is done at a different pace and in different environments. And everyone has been kissed by the sun.
I romanticize summer every year, thinking this one will be different, that this year we will have enough to do, that no one will wander aimlessly around, that when school finally starts in the fall, we will all look back over the past ten weeks and remark “Wow. That was the best summer ever.”
No one ever says that. Every summer around here looks mostly the same.
And that’s just fine.
This post originally appeared on About 100%.