Summer doesn't officially kickoff for another few weeks, but for parents the true start is when the kids are out of school. Which for our family is this Thursday, 1:30pm sharp. (Cue thriller movie audio: duh duh duuuuh...) And then, we're off and running through 10 weeks of vacation - blissful afternoons with my boys, taking leisurely hikes up our canyon; freezing popsicles out of fresh fruit from the neighborhood Farmer's Market; quiet-time art projects in the dining room after which everyone pitches in to help clean.
And then, the realization that I've been doing this long enough to know better. To know that in fact, this is not how our summer afternoons will likely play out, and that I'm far better off accepting these truths now, in order to cut Misguided Expectation off at the pass.
Sure, there will be days when the family magic will happen. Plans will fall into place organically, seamlessly and our collective memories from Summer '18 will be forever lodged in our limbic system for long-term memory safe keeping.
And there will be other days too.
The days when Quinn pines for a playdate with one of his girl tribe, and everyone is out of town on family vacation, which will inevitably send him spinning into a diatribe of "why don't I ever..." and "you never let me...".
The days when Jaime orbits around me, emanating expectancy - for a plan, an adventure, a ride to the skatepark - while I hurriedly try and finish my essay or (with any luck) a blog post.
Lax morning, late evenings. Afternoon swirls of pick ups and drop offs through my side hustle as Hughes Brothers Taxi driver - an ad hoc, unplanned, low paying gig I picked up few years ago once my boys learned to manifest the FOMO (fear of missing out) gene, passed down to them from my side of the family. It seems we take the whole humans-are-social-creatures thing to a whole new level: Friends, parties, trips, soccer, overnights, camps, parks, lunches, dinners, scooters, bikes, movies, fairs, beaches, ice cream, theme parks. All of it.
Summer is almost here, and I wouldn't change a thing. It's going to be awesome, and I plan to take it head on - with a full heart, a ton of flexibility and presence. Because what are we as parents, if not acrobats and magicians. That's certainly who our kids think we are. And while that can be overwhelming sometimes, or encroaching on our work, our free time - this age is fleeting and I want to be here fully with them. Right now. While they're 6 and 9 and lovely.
Let the countdown to Thursday begin.