School is now officially out for the summer, and something wonderful has happened.
I’m positively THRILLED.
It’s not that I didn’t like summers, before, but this is the first summer I find myself really looking forward to in, well, certainly in my tenure as a parent. I’m aware that that sounds bad, but hear me out. When the kids were little and I stayed home with them, summer was no different than the rest of the year. When the kids were a bit older but I was divorced and working, summer was rife with guilt over not being able to take time off and relax with them, and then further guilt over not being able to provide them any sort of vacation. Two years ago, summer was all about moving and getting settled (exciting, but not exactly relaxing or without its own problems), and last year summer carried with it a schedule that pretty much guaranteed zero relaxation for anyone involved.
This year is different.
I was walking around the house this morning, doing various things I always do—making coffee, taking my mug back into the kitchen to the sink, putting laundry baskets away—and realizing how many decorations we have around thanks to the kids’ art teacher. For all of the sadness we’re feeling about leaving this school, I feel nothing but profound gratitude that the children had two wonderful years there. They’ve brought home awesome projects from art class, yes, but also amazing papers from other various teachers, and this past week, lots of kind notes from teachers who have not only taught my children all sorts of things, they’ve clearly loved the stuffing out of them in the process.
For all of the ups and downs, I look at my children today and see two kids who had a great school year and are ready to have a fun summer and then take on new schools in August.
And then, of course, there is the mounting excitement due to our new camping trailer. I’d love to tell you that the kids are adorable in their anticipation of heading into the woods, and really, they are, but that would be only part of the story. The most adorable part of this whole camping adventure is Otto. He’s like a little kid, spending every spare minute retrofitting the trailer with shelves and buying just the right plastic storage containers for various nooks and crannies, and making lists and researching campsites. His anticipation is contagious, and despite my initial trepidation about this whole camping thing, I find myself looking forward to the smell of woodsmoke and outdoor games of Uno and seeing parts of the country I’ve never been to before.
I would be doing exactly none of this without Otto. Camping with the kids honestly wouldn’t have even crossed my radar. And now as I watch my husband prepare and plan and watch my children assist him and anticipate the trips to come, I can see how resigned I was, without him, to staying home and never venturing out into places where I didn’t already feel comfortable. I assumed it was too much; too much money, too much stress, too hard for the children to handle.
I’m helping to put together the minutiae we need, because that’s the part I’m good at.
We’ll pack it all up this week, and then we’ll be ready to go… wherever. Whenever. As I watch my family dream of trips already in the works and ones yet unplanned, I love their confidence that wherever we go will be a wonderful adventure. They see the big picture, these three. They know our family will find the way. They see the magic in the journey, wherever it may take us.
And finally, so do I.
Happy Love Thursday, everyone. As Karen put it this week (inspiring my own thoughts on the matter)—here’s hoping we all learn to enjoy the ride.