Back To The Future

July 30, 2013 at 9:29 am Leave a comment

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The week before school starts seems to be the most difficult time for kids, signaling an end to summertime and all that it encompasses. “Late to bed, late to rise, makes a kid happy with crust in his eyes!”     I can’t remember a happier time of year than the one that begins when the bell rings and “school’s out!”

That comfy feeling of wearing our pajamas as long as we want and then changing into swimsuits and flip-flops, even on rainy days. Watching lots of television while devouring sugary cereal.  Going to the movies in the middle of the afternoon, scarfing down popcorn drizzled with extra butter and tossing back Snow Caps, straight from the box. Coming out of the pitch-black theatre, squinting at the sun soaked day, delighting in the realization that there’s plenty more to do before bath time.

Building sand castles with a moat and watching the surf fill it with its sudsy waves.  Staying until sundown and falling asleep in the car, exhausted and joyous. Sleep overs, pillow fights, campout’s under the kitchen table, crazy 8’s and favorite board games, scary stories spun, all underneath our homemade tent, illuminated only by a flashlight.

The smells of hamburgers and hot dogs cooking on the barbecue, the tastes of baked beans and tater tots, the sounds of music blasting while laughter rings out and happiness filters in.  Frozen ice pops for dessert become symbolic, as we wish we could “freeze” this favorite time, but know that inevitably, it too will melt into fall.

That dreaded week before school starts, when parents insist on completing a dry run of the first week of school. Curfews are reinforced. Alarms are set. Clothes are sorted. Backpacks are overstuffed. “What is the point?” kids want to know. “Why spend our precious last week of summer pretending we are back in school?” That’s like taking candy from a baby. That’s like throwing your kids in a time machine, and setting it on  full throttle to the future. What ever happened to living in the moment? Ceasing the day?

I’m all for preparation, but not at the expense of a child’s last week of summer. Or my summer (now that I’m the parent.) I mean why rush it? In a week parents’ will be needing to get up extra early anyway, making breakfasts, preparing lunches, filling back packs, waiting in carpool lines and coming home to an empty home. No thank you.  And don’t forget all the first week forms that have to be read and signed. What about the infamous school supply list that makes a kindergartener feel like they’re entering high school and a sixth-grader feel like they’re beginning college. Not to mention the toll it takes on our wallets.  How about those impending, oh-so-wonderful, homework assignments? Note to self:  Do not help my children after the third grade. Last time the teacher gave my child a “C” she requested that he seek help from his parents.  From the mouths of babes, my adorable son blurted out “but my mom is the one who helped me.”  “Try dad next time” she retorted.

Families understand the importance of going back to school and the benefits of returning to an organized and efficient flow. It’s a time for planting seeds and nurturing the evolving minds of our children. School is a place for socializing and assimilating with others. It’s when our children go back to their future. Our future.

No matter how different our view of summer is, we can all agree that it is a time for children to play and grow without the confines of a schedule, or a hectic driven frenzy where every second is accounted for. It is a time spent together, bonded by memories in the making and laughter for the taking.  Summer is the bridge between spring and fall, one that we get to slowly cross three months out of the year. So why not enjoy the view from the bridge while it lasts. At least until the school bell rings once again.

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"It is better to improve than it is to prove"
- Jayne Bonilla

Since the road to success is always under construction, this blog is intended to serve as a visceral compass empowering readers/writers to find their own direction along the way.

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