I fully intend on this being a summer my kids won’t forget. Hopefully its for the better.
For some reason, maybe it’s the warm weather, I’ve been a bit nostalgic lately. I’ve been thinking about my childhood. Which was, I’d imagine, pretty average and like anyone else’s. At my children’s ages, I’d roll out of bed in the morning, have myself a bowl of cheerios, pull a brush through my hair, I’d throw on some rad looking shorts and a shirt and hop on my 10-speed and bike over to a neighborhood friend’s house. Maybe we’d do flips in the yard. Maybe we’d hang from the (metal) jungle gym. Or perhaps we’d put on our swimsuits and jump into the Doughboy pool, creating a bad-ass whirlpool. If we were at my pool-less house, we’d fill up the pool that had the liner bottom with the hard plastic sides and create a whirlpool on our stomachs, hoping that the force of it didn’t rip through the sides, making my parents buy yet another pool that summer. Or just maybe we’d ride around on our bikes, stopping to skip rocks in a creek, making up scary stories about things that lived in the woods. Eventually, we’d end up biking to the community pool, where we’d meet up with other friends. On the bike ride home, we may or may not stop for a giant ice cream cone or a root beer float. We’d be back out again after dinner, running around till the street lights came on. Sure, there were days that I played a bit of Colecovision or Atari with a friend, but never more than 30 minutes. And TV? The morning ritual was to watch The Price is Right when I was with one particular neighbor. Never anything else. If we were inside, we were sitting in front of a fan playing Life, Stratego, Monopoly or Yahtzee. Because that was what summer was about.
I’ve been losing my shit lately with my kids, who always seem to have their head buried in an iPad, Kindle, iPhone, or X-Box. And I am D O N E. So guess what? They are going away for the summer, for the most part (with some exceptions). And I am forcing my kids to go old skool.
This past weekend, we kicked off the summer with a neighborhood gathering. And when I sat back and watched the kids running around playing catch in the street, playing cornhole, playing table tennis, riding bikes, jumping on the trampoline, and playing ghost in the graveyard, I realized that this was what I want them doing all. of. the. time. I mean, I knew this prior to that, but it really hit me at that instant.
So this summer, we will be biking to the pool. We will be hiking trails. I will let them do lots of exploring. I’ll be shoving them outside. I know one of my kids will be ok with this. He and his buddies tend to gravitate to being outdoors more than my other two. He actually came home with this in his pocket. His friend put it together. And I thought, “YES! This is awesome!!!! This is what being a kid is about!!!”
Apologies to my children, but you’ll thank me in the future. I promise it.