The only title I’ve held longer than mom is educator.
Beginning as a bilingual teacher, I stepped into my first classroom in the Spring of 1995 and have worked in schools ever since. For the past twenty years, I have worked as an Educational Diagnostician for Special Education. I am the one who works with the students to collect the information that goes into making their educational plan.
I love working with kids and their families.
Last days and summer distancing
Few days are as emotionally charged as the first and last day of a school year.
This year, the first day was like every other first day. The kids’ emotions ranged from elation to downright disdain at the thought of spending the next one hundred and seventy-eight weekdays at school.
Then, there was the last day. Except we did not even know it was the last day. What started as Spring Break, quickly morphed into virtual learning, as parents became full time classroom volunteers on top of doing their own jobs—all from home.
And when the last day finally arrived, it was not nearly as exciting as the last days in years gone by.
Why? Because my kids had already been home for two and a half months!
They are supposed to be going back to school after spending two and a half months at home. But instead, we still get to do summer—another two and a half months of togetherness.
A summer marked by social distancing and possibly masks.
Who knows if our favorite summer hangouts will be open. If they are open, will it be like it was before COVID-19?
Done is still done
I don’t know about you, but an amusement park in the middle of a Texas summer, while wearing a mask that just got wet on the last ride, sounds absolutely miserable. That is if the mask did not fly off while riding a roller coaster.
Y’all . . . we still have to do summer.
I cannot even wrap my brain around it. And then what? No one knows what school will look like in the Fall.
Some people have already given up, deciding to officially become homeschool parents. Others are living with the mindset that: “My kid will be at school bright and early on the first day, even if he has to be there in a bubble suit with five extra masks in his backpack.”
Summer will be different from summers before.
But it will also be different from the last two and a half months of our pseudo-summer.
There will not be Zoom meetings. We will not have to make sure our child finished his algebra between conference calls.
We made it, friends.
We made it through the last weeks of school together, and we are still here. We may be limping across that finish line, but last time I checked, done is still done.
Bucket list ideas
So let’s get after it. Rally the troops. Make a plan. Embrace the fact that we have been gifted (yes, gifted) more time with our kids.
If you have no idea where to start, have your kids make a summer bucket list.
My daughter did this with her friends last summer. They wrote everything they would like to do together over the summer months. Then, they ranked them in order from the most realistic to the most outrageous.
Here are some of the activities they listed:
- Watch a movie in the backyard.
- Take cookies to the fire station.
- Ride the tallest slide at the waterpark.
- Make matching T-shirts.
- Play on the trampoline with the sprinkler.
- Go to the beach.
Here are some family ideas I might suggest:
- Make a list of places you would like to visit around the world and prepare a meal from those locations.
- Go on a picnic.
- Eat a meal without using silverware.
- Put on a family talent show.
- Walk ten miles in a week.
- Visit three new parks.
- Play a board game.
The activities don’t have to be fancy.
Make your list and cross them off as you do them. It will give you a sense of accomplishment and something that you can use to plan your day.
It can also be a motivator: “When you finish your chores, we can pick something to do on your bucket list.”
A count by summers left
Truly, the sky is the limit.
Yes—we still have to do summer.
A Bible Study Leader once told me that we reach a point with our children when we begin to count time by summers left.
This is the number of summers our children will still be at home before they leave for college. I am down to zero, one, and five.
In five summers, my nest will be empty. When I think about a summer without my children, I don’t want summer to ever end—even if we have already spent two and half months (and counting) quarantined together.
“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.”
—Psalm 127:3–5 (NIV)