By Melissa Mc
Three years ago our summer was spent imprisoned in our own home due to my youngest son’s recovery from open heart surgery. We couldn’t take him ANYWHERE because his little post-op body had a hard time regulating body temperature. Getting him out in the heat of summer was forbidden. Even a hot car was bad news. For three months my children and I were trapped. At the end of it, we all were ready to break our temple covenants and go our separate ways.
The following summer I overreacted and signed them up for EVERY summer camp offered in town. The cost was equal to one semester’s tuition at a state college, but I wasn’t going to repeat the summer from Hell.
This year, we’ve come to a happy medium…one week of reading camp offered by the school district, one week of Zoo camp and one week of science museum camp. Mix that in with trips to see grandparents, swim lessons, and lazy TV days and Mom’s sanity remains in tact (I’m not a very good Julie, The Cruise Director) and the kids have a great summer.
What’s missing from this equation is – what about Mom?
I’ve recently embarked on a “creative boot camp” for the summer. As a result, I was reminded of an article I ripped out of a women’s magazine last year called, “The Summer of You,” by Salley Shannon (Woman’s Day June 17 2008). She said, “summer is the perfect time to make a resolution, then do that one fun, lighthearted thing you’ve been thinking about, but for all the usual reasons have never gotten around to doing…the great thing about summer is that it is a clearly defined period – Memorial Day to Labor Day with July 4 being the middle – which makes it less overwhelming in our minds to complete a resolution.”
Last year my girlfriend Alison and I planned on taking golf lessons. Both of our husbands golf, but neither one of us knew how. We had dreams of being a romantic foursome on the course with our sweeties. It never happened. Our schedules were trumped by our kids. Her boys swimming meets conflicted with the dates, gas was $4 a gallon and our carpooling was part of the benefit because the course was 30 minutes away and when her plans changed, mine did as well.
This year, I’m committed to doing something new. I’ve downloaded the summer program schedule from my adult learning center and have found two classes that work with my schedule – Knitting 101 and Zumba (I could have done wine tasting and firearms safety, but I will save those for another summer!). For 12 weeks, I have an activity just for me for the remainder of the summer. There were hundreds of classes to choose from – cooking, foreign language, digital photography, upholstery, fly-fishing – so many I wish had time to do them all.
So, consider this the first annual Summer of You/MMW challenge (and if you don’t see my name on the sidebar anymore, you know the administrators gave me the boot for not seeking prior editorial approval to do this) – find a class, an activity, a book, something you’ve wanted to try, read, learn this summer and do it. See how creative you can be by finding things that are FREE. Our library system has TONS of free classes during the summer. Find a friend and teach each other your talents. I’m really mad Heather doesn’t live close to me anymore, because I so want to know how to make bread and can and store food and everything else she can do. I’d say the same for Tracy – but even Tracy-michaelangelo couldn’t teach me to paint!!! I’m hopeless. But as a dancer in a previous life, I know I can eventually Zumba!
If you don’t have any ideas – the article suggests the following:
Take dance lessons: Tap or Couples Salsa? You pick.
Make a book of family recipes: Or of family stories. Write down one each week.
Splurge on a “happiness treat” – Sequinned flip flops? A new necklace? Wear what you choose as often as you can.
Master two techie tricks: Tame your TiVo and upload photos from your cell.
Reconnect times three: Each month (June, July, August) phone someone you love but seldom have time to talk with.
Go for a walk with a friend every Saturday (or a day of your choosing): Mark it on your calendar now!
Sample ice cream: Treat yourself to a different flavor every week.
Act like a kid: Toast marshmallows, eat s’mores, catch fireflies, watch fireworks.
GET OUT! Once a week, go to a farmer’s market, outdoor concert or movie.
Learn three things on your “I really wish I could…” list: Grow roses, tell a joke, make homemade ice cream.
I expect you to return and report after Labor Day!
Happy Summer Fun Days!