Three more mornings of preschool for the kids and then summer's unofficially here. It looks like we're going to be able to kick it off with a family trip to the beach this weekend. Friday is our 10-year (!) wedding anniversary and we're planning a trip for just the two of us to celebrate that but not until later this summer.
I actually have two new bathing suits this year for the first time in years so that's a nice upgrade. The one I've been wearing has been through two pregnancies with me, and a baby bump doesn't do a bikini any favors. Unfortunately, I never think about shopping for a replacement until we're at the beach, which is usually in July, by which time stores are selling fall clothes and the remaining bathing suits are on clearance and none of the tops match the bottoms and forget about finding your size. This year I remembered all this and ordered early.
With nine hours of free time remaining before school's out, I've got a big to-do list. Priority goes to things I can't do from home and things that are torture with two kids in tow.
I am thankful for the time I have to get stuff done while they're in school, but I'm also really looking forward to a whole wide-open unscheduled summer. I know structure is good for the kids but I feel like three meals and one nap a day provides plenty of routine to build our days around, providing enough consistency while allowing for spontaneous playdates, picnics, outings, errands, stroller runs or whatever else strikes our fancy.
I've also noticed that for some reason I seem to be more patient with the kids on the days they're not in school. It's counterintuitive but true. Sometimes I think I get so involved in doing my own thing while I'm not directly responsible for them that it makes me more selfish with my time, so that when I'm back with them there's been a subtle shift to thinking along the lines of "Taking care of them is getting in the way of what I want to be doing." Whereas on the mornings when I know I might not get 10 minutes to myself, I'm often pleasantly surprised, not only by how much time they do entertain themselves, but also by how much I enjoy their company when they're hanging out with me (if they aren't fighting).
Kate sent me this stanza of a Robert Louis Stevenson poem a long time ago and coincidentally, I happened upon it again just last week when I bought a copy of "A Child's Garden of Verses and Underwoods" at the Coalition. It's always reminded me of childhood summers:
"Happy hearts and happy faces,
Happy play in grassy places --
That was how, in ancient ages,
Children grew to kings and sages."