My thoughts on an out-of-the-ordinary kind of summer.
We didn’t get to enjoy the herky jerky excitement of a roller coaster ride at Walt Disney World or Universal Studios in Orlando. (Maybe next year Mickey and Minnie!)
We didn’t get to soak up the sun, laying-out on the beach at the Jersey Shore or Outer Banks. We skipped hiking the long, winding trails of the Shenandoah Mountains.
You can scratch-off touring other larger cities within a two- or three -hour drive like Washington, D.C. or New York. You can also forget about local trips to the Liberty Bell or the Constitution Center in Philadelphia. I didn’t even get to dive-in to a messy, greasy Philly cheesesteak or soft pretzel.
I could go on-and-on listing the activities and places we missed out visiting over the past coulee of months, but I can’t think of a better way to spend a summer.
We got to spend seventy some days as one big (sometimes) happy family. We got to talk, fight, eat together, and just be together for one long summer. We took a few trips, but they were centered around helping my son nail down his college choices. We mainly just hung out, recouped and spent our time doing whatever the kids wanted to do. Can you say mini-golf?
Taking advantage of every opportunity
If that sounds trivial, if that sounds boring, then so be it. With my oldest daughter soon headed back to college, my 17-year-old son hot on her trails and my 12-year-old right behind the other two, I can feel summers like this one slipping between my finger tips.
Oh we’ll always be a family and I’m sure we have many more family events and vacations in our future, but I never want to take our time together for granted. As other parents with older adult children have been reminding me, we’re to the point now where I can’t assume that my kids will automatically be with us on every trip that we take. They have their own schedules to manage. They have their own lives to live.
So I’ve enjoyed the summer for all it’s worth. I’ve enjoyed the little things that make up family life, everything from going out to eat together — I’m told that I eat funny (don’t ask) — to getting in rabid fights over politics. (My kids for whatever reason fail to grasp or appreciate my argument that says: “Trust me, I’m right and you’re wrong.”)
I’ve also enjoyed the long winded career discussions that start at X veer off one way, circle back another, take a dirt road up a hill, roll somewhere over the rainbow, take the left onto the yellow brick road, before cruising into Z.
I’ve also had the most fun I ever thought I would have hearing about their hopes and dreams. I’ve offered some advice — I’m a dad I have to offer advice, it’s in my DNA — but I’ve had the most fun, just listening.
How I spent my summer
As a kid I used to have to get up in front of the class on the first day of school and tell everyone what I did that summer. If I had to do that today, I would tell everyone that I learned that I like the people who my kids are becoming.
In the end, I don’t think that’s a bad way to spend a summer.