Today is the solstice, the first day of summer. It is the first day of the week, the first day of a new season, it is a transition day on which I should give out a lot of gold stars. The first go to my friends Anne and Mike for having us over to their glorious roof deck for the first of (I hope) many evenings enjoying the sunset over Brooklyn.
Change is necessary but hard, that is for sure. My children have four more days of school and then are off for the summer, on vacation, in camp, out of their regular routines into new ones and, often, none. It is a nice break but, as a friend told me earlier about when her child goes down for a nap, breaks can become breakdowns, moments where there is not enough distraction from the things that plague and worry us.
Summer can be fabulous, fun, a time to do all those things you've dreamed of doing. But the list of those things can get long, the ability and means to do them not so much. I hear complaints nearly every summer weekend if people here haven't gone exciting places, done interesting things, taken advantage of all a city like New York and its surrounding environs have to offer.
"I'm doing some easy parenting," a neighbor told me recently as he sat on a bench in my apartment building's courtyard, his son running around in the grass. Maybe it was just me, but it sounded like a judgement of himself, one I offer up all the time of my own parenting when my kids aren't actively engaged, one I hear from so many others when every moment isn't fun-filled and action packed. We are so hard on ourselves, never more so when opportunities abound, when it is totally up to us (not the school) to take charge of the curriculum.
This summer, I am bound and determined to enjoy, to appreciate all we do (and don't do) and to appreciate that everyone needs a break. Years after the school-year schedule no longer applies to me personally, just my kids, it still feels like the end of things, a wrap-up before a brief hiatus, before September begins everything anew. I try to remember from past years, September comes all too soon. Hopefully you'll remember that too! Gold star for trying...