When summer comes around, I drag Jack to music class, Sesame Place, Adventure Aquarium, here, there and everywhere – pretty much all summer long, trying to make the best of it when it’s so hot outside and I want to make memories but not wilt under the summer sun. I keep trying to stuff his brain full of the best things I can imagine. Sometimes things I never had, but mostly just experiences that he’ll remember forever. Sure, we have our days of watching Finding Nemo three times and just lazing around the house, or just popping over to the community pool and then coming home to cool off and nap, but I always feel guilty that I’m not exposing him to something somehow better. Welcome to Mommy Guilt, right?!
But when I think back on my own childhood, which was admittedly simpler because we were financially less “gifted,” than my peers and even my family today, it’s less the trips and outings that I remember and much more those lazy afternoons of doing nothing with my parents. We’d spend weekdays in our above ground pool with my mom, followed by lunch or popsicles inside and then my mom and my brother and sister and I cuddling up in the family room or even on my parent’s bed to take a dozey nap before dinner. Or on Saturdays we’d wait for my cousins to arrive from Trenton so we could play in the pool until our fingers were prunes while our parents grilled, swam with us, and talked. We’d stay up catching lightening bugs and skipping baths.
Those are the afternoons I remember from childhood summers, even though I’m sure we took the trips and experiences too, when we could afford it. I guess my point is that remember that your child wants to be with you. Some of the fondest memories don’t have to be the most expensive. I felt loved on those afternoons of pool, popsicles and naps, surrounded by my family. I hope you find time to slow down and fill your summer with memories just that simple and lasting for you and your children. I hope I remember to do so as well.