We’re planning for summer. Camps, activities, trips, play dates…the usual summer stuff. I’m looking forward to not having to pack 2 lunches each day and sleeping in. Other things to look forward to: lazy hot days with popsicles and kiddie pools; beachy days with sand between our toes and if we’re lucky, a sea lion playing in the waves; trips to museums where new things are learned and experienced; trips to see family and friends to enjoy each other’s company and laugh at ridiculously silly things.
This summer will be different than the last, but hopefully not a bad different. I’ll have to figure out how to get quiet time to recharge – nap, write, read. I’ll have weeks where I’m sick and exhausted. I’ll have to remind myself to let go of some things on my long list of wishes. I’ll cherish each moment and try to look past those moments when they bicker at each other, as siblings do.
Last summer, I didn’t coordinate schedules very well. While it’s nice to have just one child at a time, it’s also nice to have no children just every once in awhile. This summer, I mixed it up a bit and will hopefully find there’s a nice balance between 1, 2 and no children (aka as extended nap days for mama). It would have been ideal to know my chemo schedule and plan ‘no children’ weeks concurrently. But alas, I can’t predict my chemo schedule that accurately. We’ll have to adjust and make do if they don’t align. I’ll need to find a babysitter for those days I have appointments or feel too ill to get out of bed…
The kids have started to make their wish list of things they’d like to do. I made a checklist of activities last year and we’ll update it with our new list for this summer. Much to their dismay, we’ll also be fitting in things like chores and errands – there’s nothing my children love more (or is it less?) than going to the grocery store and cleaning their rooms. Adding to that list of responsibilities this year, each child will be making dinner once a week – planning the menu, shopping, cooking. The oldest (and maybe the youngest) will also begin doing her own laundry from start to finish. They can write thank you notes for the new skills and independence they’ll develop to Kay Wills Wyma, author of Cleaning House: A Mom’s 12-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement.
We took weekly trips to the library last year. My youngest would gravitate to the non-fiction area and clear out a section on a particular subject – marine mammals, trucks, insects… We learned a lot about Narwals and construction vehicles. This year, we’ll be working with him on independent reading. Every child typically has a book/series that sparks their passion for reading – hopefully we’ll find his this summer. My oldest would gravitate to the fiction area – searching in vain for the next book in her latest favorite series – usually not finding it and being ‘forced’ to try something new. It was a frustrating experience for her (and me). She’ll usually read anything she can get her hands on – as long as no one has TOLD her to read it. This year, I found a list from Scholastic for their summer reading challenge – I’ll print it out and give it to her so she can be ‘in control’ of what she reads – and we’ll try different, larger libraries that will hopefully have books from the list. There’s also a chance she’ll be joining a book club with some of her friends. Now if I can only get her to write more…
There will be new experiences – breakdancing and hip hop dance classes. We’ll be taking a break from some ongoing activities – gymnastics. We’ll be restarting old, loved activities – soccer and piano lessons. We’ll fill in the gaps as best we can to find the right balance for all of us so that in the end, we can say it was the best summer ever.
This was our list from last year – we crossed each thing off with a dry erase marker as it was done. We made it through almost everything on the list and some we did more than once.