The yawning summer stretches ahead, a favorite time of year for most families as the hectic pace of life slows down to a crawl. Kids are out of school and can enjoy the business of having fun. Maybe they’ll sleep in or hang out with friends, go to the beach or catch up on their favorite TV shows.
Summer means camp for lots of kids, a chance to experience new activities, make friends, grow, and learn. We’re fortunate to live in an area where nature’s bounty surrounds us, so make sure your kids get outside and learn to love the lush, green environment we live in.
Summer means vacation time for many families. Maybe you’ll take a road trip to visit relatives or rent a house in the mountains or by the sea. Vacations are special times for kids and parents, who can enjoy each other’s company without the distractions of daily life.
Some of the best summers of my childhood were spent at our family cottage in the Thousand Islands, where Canada and the U.S. meet. My siblings and I would fish and boat, hike and swim. Most nights after dinner we would gather around the dining room table and play Canasta. I can still see my Grandma Mary’s smile and the twinkle in her eye when she played a triumphant hand.
We didn’t have television in the cottage so my cousin, Julie, and I would make up games and play hairdresser and laugh and giggle at our silly creations. Behind the cottage was a big rock, which Julie and I pretended was a stage. We’d dance and sing, showing off for a pretend audience. Perhaps Grandma Mary watched us from the kitchen window, remembering the games she played when she was a little girl.
Fast forward a generation, and a new family tradition evolved during visits with my kids to my brother’s home in Sweden. Our favorite activity was planning and putting on a talent show. Kids and adults would join the fun, and off-the-wall acts were encouraged. One time, my brother played a tune on the spokes of a bicycle wheel. Another time I read a story in Swedish in my best Swedish accent, not knowing a single word I was saying and butchering the pronunciation beyond all recognition. We laughed until our sides hurt.
As you contemplate how you and your family will spend time this summer, build in some silliness and fun. Create your own family traditions and remember that life is about being present in the moment and making each moment count. Remember time is like money. You only have so much, so spend it wisely.
Have a happy, safe summer!