~ "let me be something every minute of every hour of my life. Let me be gay; let me be sad. Let me be cold; let me be warm. Let me be hungry...have too much to eat. Let me be ragged or well dressed. Let me be sincere - be deceitful. Let me be truthful; let me be a liar. Let me be honorable and let me sin. Only let me be something every blessed minute. And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost.”`Betty Smith~A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Summer vacation is not like it used to be..or at least not like I remember it. When it seemed like there was an endless stretch of days- possibility ahead of me...First thing in the morning I would be out the door riding my bike..running in the woods..an eternity spent outside outside playing "red light green light" or "ring and run" until the street lights came on- which everyone knows is the universal signal that it was time to go home. It was a rare day that was spent inside-as most of us had mothers admonishing us to "GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY!!" The days were warm, but I don't remember being bothered by it-except maybe at night..when all we had were window fans blowing in hot air. So much has changed since then. At least for me. Summer still means endless days..only they aren't as carefree as they used to be
I suppose that some of it has to do with being an adult-and some with how the times have changed. Now days, kids have play dates and organized activities..Wii, Nintendo, and more television stations than I can count. When I was growing up we had four television stations (Omar had one) ..and they rarely-if ever, played kids shows. So-we had no choice but to learn how entertain ourselves. My problem now- has been in teaching my kids how to entertain themselves. Especially with all the fun technology and gadgets...which- in the early years- I embraced with wide open arms. It saved my life-and that is in all seriousness.
Yes, there were many days that I had shamelessly allowed my children to sit in front of the television-or the computer screen...sometimes for hours. I admit it. For years the background soundtrack of my life/ house were the theme songs from every
Every summer, since the kids have started school...I make these plans...schemes if you will.."This summer we are going to do science projects, and visit the library..and spend our time out doors!" *sigh*...and then August rolls around and I'm buying school supplies and I realize we have done none of it...and that the reality is that I spent the majority of my time delegating whose turn it was to use the computer..or pick the t.v. show. But-this summer...this summer it's going to be different. I swear.
A year ago yesterday-Omar, along with many of the other well paid employees of his company, lost his job. It set us in a tail spin. But, sometimes spinning is good. This was definitely a year of spins. We reevaluated, refocused..and basically figured out that life wasn't about work..that we wanted to do things..have adventures..LIVE our lives-be the examples that we wanted our kids to see. At the same time, our kids each spun through their own things as well...no one however, as much as Oscar.
I don't know what happened..or even why things happened..But last summer, you would have had to PRY Oscar away from the computer..insist he do something that wasn't electronic..He wasn't interested in anything other than what he knew. But then- a few months ago-things started changing...it was gradual at first. He started asking to walk to town.."I'm thirteen" was his reason....and then he brought home a brochure for summer sleep away camp..AND looked up the web site-AND had me fill out an application..."I'm thirteen" he told me.."I'm old enough to do this"..and then he started walking away from the computer.."I need to get out of my head" he's told me...and then he went to the school dance-alone.."I want to" he said...Today-he(and Sam) started working at our restaurant (bought as a result of this year)..They swept and stocked,,cleaned and folded pizza boxes..measured pasta and made lasagna- on their own. Today-we started them on the road to real independence-and they loved it.
Every single moment of chaos and uncertainty- that started a year ago yesterday, was totally worth it for today..Today really was priceless.
Our Summer break started this past Wednesday. We have already gone to the library..Zoe has read two books and has planned our first science project.(she really wants to be home schooled) we are building a volcano on Sunday.All of them have spent at least an hour each day reading. I have only heard "I'm bored" 540 times (roughly-and 536 of them were from Lily) and the only back ground noise has been from the kids playing in the pool. Not bad so far...