I shouldn’t be surprised, really, because I’m struck by the same feeling at the end of every summer: The little burst of panic that it’s almost over and I haven’t done everything I wanted to do or, more honestly, everything I felt I should be doing with the kids.
It’s this time of year when I typically organize a spur-of-the-moment trip to the beach, overwhelmed by guilt because I haven’t taken them yet. (Luckily, they have gone to the beach many times this summer with my mother. She is a sun person, unlike her basement-dwelling vampire daughter.)
If I let myself really launch into a bad mom shame spiral, I could add that we haven’t been to the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park at all this summer. (In fact, I can’t remember the last time we went …?)
We didn’t do a session of swimming lessons, even though I had the best intentions. (I signed them up for a few weeks of camp without realizing it was going to screw up any chance of also fitting in swimming.)
My husband tried to take them strawberry picking, but the place was closed, so they bought some at the roadside stand instead. He didn’t set up the pool we bought and used last summer and now it’s too late. We meant to build a new bonfire pit, and it just didn’t happen. He, um, did set up the sprinkler for them once!
We wanted to take them to Prince Edward Island (sigh … again), or even to Magic Mountain for the day, but we’re in a season of sacrifice (better known as scrimping) and decided those weren’t in the budget. Maybe next summer.
Ugh. I always do this at the end of the summer. I beat myself up thinking of all of the fun things we didn’t do, rather than focusing on what we did do, so let’s try that again.
We went swimming in the pool at the park, and met up with friends each time — which made it even more fun. We went to playgrounds and splash pads. We went out for ice cream. We sweat to death at the skate park while the kids rode their new scooters.
We visited our friends at their houses and at their campgrounds. We had friends over to our house for homemade pizza dinners. We went to birthday parties and dinners with our extended family, and the kids spent quality time with my mom — hitting up Peggy’s Cove, the Halifax waterfront, and the beach.
The kids spent two weeks at day camp, eating barbeque-flavoured crickets and learning to play Spit. They spent one week at Vacation Bible School, and then we all sung Christian pop songs for weeks because they were too catchy to get out of our heads.
We read lots of Harry Potter aloud, and are about halfway through the third book. We spent many happy hours at the library, enjoying the programming and checking out armfulls of books each. We played UNO.
We rested, we had fun, and we’re all ready for school to start up again. The kids certainly aren’t complaining, so it’s up to me to stop feeling guilty about “what we could have done.”
We didn’t have the flashiest summer, but when I stop comparing it to everyone else’s, I realize it was a good one. A great one, actually.