Remember when we were kids, and the end of May was always filled with impatience and excitement? Remember why?
Three solid months of swimming, playing outside until the fireflies began to blink, bonfires, bike riding up and down the street, rarely wearing shoes, and most of all– NO SCHOOL!
Yes, there was still work to do (or at least, in my house growing up there was), but the change in routine was not only refreshing, it was invigorating.
Then we grew up.
And the concept of a summer break was tucked away into the box of childhood memories, warm and pleasant to think of once in a while, but no longer tangible. A piece of the past, but not the present.
Responsibilities multiplied and rarely slept. We were no longer the dependents, but the depended upon.
And that’s good. It should be that way. We are not meant to remain children forever.
Yet, I couldn’t help but long for a taste of it again.
So I thought, why not? Why can’t I have that again, even if it’s not identical to that of my childhood memories? What was the one defining feature of summer break that I missed most?
It was space.
Most of the year, my days and weeks look like this:
Full of life. Busy with tasks and activities. Goals and projects planned. All of which are good and wonderful to have as part of our lives. I liked all of them. I wanted to do them.
But it was time for space. It was time for a break.
So for the past few weeks, I said no to many things. No to VBS this year. No to starting new projects. No to trips. No to rushing in the morning. No to adding and adding and adding.
And my days became this:
There was finally space. Space to move a little slower in the mornings. To bake a few loaves of challah bread with my daughter. To take more time at the library. To let my sons help to make the sandwiches. To watch the fireflies blink without that nagging voice telling me to get back to work.
Once again, I enjoyed the drive to the grocery store. I stopped fretting about how much time we spent at the community pool. We weren’t late for anything, because nothing was scheduled. Dinner prep became a little less rushed and frustrating. Finger foods and a movie night? Let’s do it!
Don’t get me wrong, it was not a vacation. There were still children and a home to care for, a lawn to be mowed and weeds to pull. Life and duty continued to rouse their fuzzy heads each morning.
I wasn’t looking to remove myself from my life, but to find a break right where I was. And it worked! For a couple of weeks, life moved at a slightly slower pace, and I’m only now realizing how much I, and my family, needed it.
It won’t last forever. And it shouldn’t. Work is good. Projects are good. School is good. Routines are good.
But I’m thinking about making this “summer break” an annual thing.
Did you get one this year? If not, what is preventing you?