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Challenge: Summer Fun

This summer might be our kids' best one yet

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Photo by David Ringle

Let me ask you a question. When you think back to memories from your childhood, is the first one that comes to mind the one where everything went as planned? My guess is that the answer is, no. For me, one of my favorite childhood memories was when our power went out in our house and we all sat in my family room with an old rusty lantern my dad dug up and played Monopoly. As cheesy as that sounds, it’s true.

Another one that always comes to mind: We drove to Myrtle Beach for our annual trip and when we arrived, we found out that a hurricane was coming our way. We quickly got in the car and my mom spent the next four hours making phone calls to plan a new spontaneous trip to Ocean City, Maryland. I remember thinking it was so funny that we changed our whole vacation plan so fast.

Now, as a 36-year-old mom of two, I can look back at both of those events and see them from a different perspective. I’m sure for my parents, those were not the favorite moments. I’m sure they were stressed out, scared and frustrated by both. What’s my point here? Right now, life is crazy to say the least. I’ve heard it compared to a game of Jumanji and that seems oh-so-accurate. Seriously, what else can go wrong? No school, no camp, no family vacations, no big organized parties.

When I speak to other mom friends of mine- they all say the same. Omg - what are we going to do this summer without camp? I feel so bad that my kids won’t have the experiences we had planned for them. Blah, blah, blah. And listen, I get it, and I’ve said all of these things too. But the next sentence out of all of these mouths is usually something along the lines of, "We went on a little road trip to here or there." "We all recently bought bikes and discovered this trail that we have lived 10 minutes away from forever but never knew it existed." "We had family game night or movie night or went camping in the back yard." So the truth is, all of these canceled plans and organized activities have caused us all to dust off our creativity and kick it old school.

All of the other summers with camp, vacations and parties will blend together as one great memory. But this one — this one is going to stand out and take the cake. So I think we all need to stop feeling sad, bad or guilty about what we are all missing. We need to look around and realize how much we have.

My grandma used to always say to me, 'When my kids were little they didn’t need any toys, just some pots and pans and lots of love.' So, take out those pots and pans, put away the guilt, and show those kids the love you have for them, the old-school way.

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