By the time the school year comes to an end in June, I welcome summer with the most open of arms you’ve ever seen. No more worrying about making lunch or rushing out the door to miss the school bus or getting a grumpy kid off the bus who “doesn’t remember” what he did that day.
Add all of that to the fact that I am fortunate enough to live in a coastal town in southern New England, which means summer for us equals beach time fun! That first beautiful day after school lets out is simply amazing!
We go to the beach and the kids play like it’s the first time they’ve seen sand or water. Or sand next to water. We stay ALL day and I don’t worry about what’s for dinner (much to my husband’s disappointment) or getting home at any particular time. When we do get home, it’s shower, eat, and the kids pass out like they just went on a bender. It’s glorious!
Unfortunately, this only lasts for about a week because (1) they somehow start to find the beach “boring” and (2) they become immune to all of the activity and it no longer puts them to sleep the moment their heads hit the pillow.
Then you realize that you haven’t cleaned the house or done laundry all week, so you have to take an entire day of your “vacation” to do something about it. Of course, while you’re vacuuming and lugging baskets of clothes up and down the stairs, your kids are busy dumping their Legos all over the floor for no reason in particular.
My point is, I think the word “vacation” in the term we know as summer “vacation” is a bit strong. Even if you use the word “break,” that’s still pushing it a little, because who’s getting the break here? The kids are technically on a “vacation” from school, sure. But I’m certainly not on any sort of vacation. You can’t just change what a word means because a bunch of kids aren’t going to school for two months!
I think that the name of this period of time between school years should reflect everyone who is involved, not just the kids. Perhaps we could call it “Summer, Not the School Year,” or “Summer, The Teachers Have Had Enough.” Okay, those aren’t great, but you get my point.
Other terminologies whose meanings go right out the window over this so-called summer “vacation” include “bedtime” and “healthy diet” and “no, we can’t have hot dogs for the third time this week,” and “stop spraying the hose, you’re wasting water.”
Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the summer, and I will probably be the Mom choking back tears when I put both of my children on the school bus in three and a half weeks. I also know that those tears will most likely be short-lived because I want to enjoy my time until next summer “vacation” when I will go from zero kids 35 hours a week to two kids ALL the time.