Disclaimers (and apologies to my mother): I don’t have a cohesive vision of the summers of my youth. Bologna & cheese sandwiches with Dwayne, Dennis whipping baseballs at us, being dropped off at the pool, ice cream cones. I have all those images but they aren’t of one summer, they are of all of them. My dad worked second shift, my mom always worked, I know I did something but I’ll be damned if I know what it was. Oh, vacations, obviously, but I bet I don’t remember the parts they hoped I would.

So this weekend I stood around with women I did and didn’t know and I think we had every conceivable work / child combination – I’ll run through them and then tell you what I learned.

1. Full time working mom
2. Used to have the summers off and now doesn’t mom
3. Used to not have the summer off does this summer
4. Stay at home mom feeling pulled back to work
5. Works full-time from home mom

Here is what I learned in general:

1. The disruption of The Norm (whatever that is) is chaotic and makes people a little crankier (parents and children both).
2. We each have an idea of what summer “should” look like – and NONE of us have chosen that our child’s summer “should” look like what IT IS.
3. We all want our kids nimble in changing situations, sociable with peers, and comfortable entertaining themselves.
4. We all love the idea that our kid can “Be Boooooooored” but we would prefer they not do it so loudly in our face.

What I learned specific to my child and our upcoming three week road trip:
1. Dude knows more about Pokemon than I know about healthcare and I’ve been doing this for 15 years.
2. He has enough energy to do a physical half-day camp and THEN will swim for two hours and still have energy to spare.
3. #2 is quite intimidating in regards to the three week road trip – but shapes what I want to do and locate ahead of time.

In the end, I’m CHOOSING that this is what his summer SHOULD look like. There are things I wanted to include but haven’t (drop-in trapeze, library trips, walking the local trails) but my day-to-day failure to do that isn’t wrecking his summer. He doesn’t know to miss those things, his summer is cobbler and legos and Pokemon cards EVERY.DAMN.WHERE. At least it has been the last couple of weeks. The next few weeks will be doing something else. The weeks after that will be different again. His summer will be made of the memories that he chooses, not the things my mind sets aside.

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