Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Muddy Hands

 Yesterday was our first true day of summer break, our first day at home that the kids noticed they weren’t at school.  “Last week we would’ve been in school”, our 7 year old said. I love summer and all it has to offer. Every year I vow that we are going to have a great summer and I am not going to end with I wish we would’ve done more of…. Or try to cram all the things I wanted to do into the last 2 weeks of the summer. So yesterday I started planning our events. Looking at the camp forms I need to fill out putting them all on the calendar while coordinating them with the sports schedules. At the end of the day my table was still full of papers, the house was a disaster and after the older three spent the majority of their day playing their I-pods we all ended the day in crabby chaos!

So this morning I woke up thinking we will not do this all summer again, wasting days away doing nothing. I want the kids to have free time but we needed some structure, some responsibility, and less laziness.  Then while shredding my soap for laundry detergent, which sometimes I wonder why I do things like that, but that is another story in itself.  The task gave me a few minutes to think. I don’t know how many of you have read the book “Boys Life”, by Robert McCammon, but it is worth reading. The story sprang into my mind, one part specifically about the last day of school. I hadn’t read the book since high school, and thank my English teacher for putting on the reading list. I grabbed the book off the shelf and easily found the part I was thinking of in Part 2, chapter 1; The Last Day of School:

…..My own wings suddenly burst from my shoulder blades, unfurling like brown flags. They ripped through my shirt hungry for wind. I felt the delirium of freedom lighten my bones. As I began to rise, I had a few seconds of panic akin to the summer’s first jump into the cold waters of the public pool. My wings had been tight and dormant under my flesh since the end of August and though they might have twitched every once in a while around Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas vacation and Easter break, they had been asleep and only dreaming of this day. They felt heavy and ungainly, and I wondered-as I did every summer since our ritual had begun-how such things could read the air almost of their own accord. And then my wings filled up with wind and I felt their awesome muscular might. They gave a jerking motion, like the reaction after a sneeze. The second flap was more controlled and powerful; the third was as pretty as poetry. My wings began to beat in the current of air……

Does this explain the feeling of summer or what! “The delirium of freedom lightens my bones”, freedom to run, play, leave structure behind for awhile, and enjoy true childhood.
I wanted to throw all my camp paperwork away and quit all the sports and fly into summer along with the author. The book was written of the 1960’s, what the world thinks is being a kid in 2013 is different.  Those ideas make it hard to abandon it all completely and it would likely disappoint some in my household because that is what they are used too and enjoy.  So I did not throw away my registration forms and a schedule will still likely be made to give some order to the chaos. But I will remember this paragraph and give my kids a chance and encouragement to experience that old fashion summer. I want my kids to have the opportunity to say to their kids when looking at an old photo, “That is what I wore all summer long, shorts, no shoes and no shirt”, for the boys of course. Allow them more chances like last weekend at the lake when cousins ages 2-13 enjoyed working together for hours building a city in the sand.  To run around barefoot, climb trees, run through the sprinkler, explore, go camping even just in the back yard, and get dirty. Then after eating ice cream on the porch swing go to bed exhausted from all the playing that day. This may require me to let go of worry and control but I can work on that.  I will more often say as my mom did, “GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY!”  Maybe I will even take a minute and allow my wings to sprout again and enjoy a few moments with them. These thoughts may be in a fantasy world like in the book, but for my kids’ sake I think it’s worth a try.

 This summer I vow to not weigh the success of our summer on how many outings we accomplished, but instead on how many days ended with muddy hands!


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