Welcome to the second post in my summer blogcation series! Today’s guest post is from my friend Carrie Ferguson Weir, a freelance media consultant who publishes and edits Tiki Tiki Blog, a site dedicated to essays about growing up, and living Latino, in the United States. She just relaunched her personal site, Bilingual in the Boonies.
A brief history of my childhood summers in Miami…
Grandma’s House. Five days a week. TV. Ice Cream. Cousins. Bored. Sit on porch. Avoid Miami heat-stroke. More ice cream. Keep watching TV.
It wasn’t exactly campy-enrichment, but I turned out to be a smart grown-up with a big vocabulary and a well-paying job. And because my Cuban grandma didn’t speak English, it was like Spanish Immersion Camp everyday. Free.
Both my parents worked full-time, so really, grandma’s, as mind-numbing as it could be sometimes, was the only option.
Fast-forward to what has been the last two summer’s of my young daughter’s cush life:
Camp. Playdate. Sleep-over. Playdate. Playdate. Beach. Grandma’s house (near Miami Beach). Camp. Sleep-over. Playdate. Playdate.
All made possible by the unpaid and unappreciated driver named Mama = Me.
This summer, I quit.
I have called foul on the system that — stay with me here — would have me madly positioning myself to get a precious, and expensive, camp spot for my kid, wake her early nearly every summer day to drive her 20-plus miles into Nashville, often to wait around doing something like shopping or lunch so that I won’t have to drive 20-plus miles and back again, and which keeps my house and my life in perpetual cyclone.
Playdates are free, but I still gotta drive from Kingdom Come.
My daughter did a wonderful art camp last week, but now we’ve begun what I am calling The Summer of Lazy.
Glorious Lazy. Precious boredom. Unplanned, unscheduled adventure. And of learning to do daily chores, darn it. (The child in question 7.)
We’re into day four, and well, I am not, despite the predictions of a friend with grown kids, drunk by week’s end.
So far, we’ve hung out at home and cleaned while blasting show tunes on the iPod (Daughter selected “It’s a Hard Knock Life” various times. Subtle, she ain’t); we’ve gone the Nashville Zoo, the grocery and my chiropractor. Today, she is sleeping in.
Each morning, I write a daily chore on the small chalkboard I bought just for that purpose. We’ve never been too sticky with the chores, but it is time.
See, it all ties in.
The Summer of Lazy is about connecting with my only child around the ordinary. I want to show her there is joy in the uncharted, unscheduled. Joy in the responsibility of creating order in your own space.
I also need to show her my primary role is not to get her dressed, out the door and off somewhere.
And lately, I have had increasing dread that this is it, life is only going to get more complicated. She’s going to get more involved in other things, with other people, so we need this wide space together while we can grab it. I work from home for now, so I need to take advantage of this luxury and privilege and spend more hang-out time with my daughter.
Perhaps one day I will be the Mom keeping track of camp weeks via spreadsheet (shudder), but not this year.
I have been widely proclaiming the Summer of Lazy and have found quite a few friends who are camps-less this summer as well.
We have vowed to stick together and rejoice.
Not yet sure how it’s all going to turn out.
But, I have hope.
And so far, a clean house and a happy kid.