Summertime summertime, sum, sum, summertime…
Feels like it’s in full swing now, am I right? The kid is on week two of camp and said to me this morning, “Am I going to have any days when I’m not at camp?” I reminded him that we’re going East for two weeks of visits with friends and family, including a few days in D.C. (he wants to meet Obama, so, that’s happening. NOT). He said, “No, I mean at home. I just want to hang out around here.”
It got me thinking. It’s summer and we’re not doing any hanging out. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to spend too much time “hanging out” around the house with a 7-year-old before you wonder if you’ve lost your mind thinking it was a good idea but still, he’s right. It’s summer! When I was a kid in NH I didn’t go to camp at all. My mom said, “Your whole world is a camp. Go outside.” She not only pushed me out the door each morning, she locked it behind me and said I could come in only to pee and that she “didn’t want to see my face” until she called me for lunch. Buh-bye. I was mad and resentful, and then I slowly lost myself riding for hours around our house on my bike, or adventuring in the hills around our yard. I searched for pollywogs in the pond (okay, it was more like a swamp, if we’re being honest), made mud pies with the berries from our Huckleberry bush, and spent hours in the woods, often by myself, doing… I don’t even know what. Using my imagination I suppose. And if I couldn’t wait for lunch I snacked on the rhubarb that grew down beside our driveway.
The biggest threat to me back then was getting eaten by a bear. Nowadays, obviously, the dangers are much greater, especially in LA, and it’s unfortunate for our kids who end up having their lives scheduled to the enth degree because we can’t just send them outside without someone watching over them. While I can’t replicate a country upbringing, (and there are many reasons I wouldn’t want to) we do have some spectacular outdoor experiences at our fingertips. There are countless hikes in LA and miles of beach and mountains. There are lots of opportunities to hang by your pool (or someone else’s, or better yet, a hotel pool with cocktail servers).
I was thinking about surprising the kid with a couple of stay-here-days. Maybe we’ll just go to the beach or take the dog on a hike with us. I’ll pack a lunch and we’ll get ice cream on the way home and hopefully that will be one of his “lazy day” summer memories, and one of mine too.