It's Just Those 89 Days Between Summer and Fall That are the Problem

Updated: Jan 7, 2020

As a mother, one of my favorite sayings is “A teacher counts the days until Summer; a mother counts the days until Fall. “This is not a hard and fast rule, but it has some truth and merit.

Step back in time to when you were 10 - 12 years old.

For me, that’s 50 years - yikes!

The first few weeks of summer vacation were action-packed. Sleepovers and campouts, swimming and tennis lessons. Maybe you went to camp, Vacation Bible School, or on vacation.

Where I lived, on Tuesday afternoons the movie theater had a 25 cent film - and you got a small soda and popcorn with that.

We may have had a few chores, but basically, the days were ours to spend as we wish.

Bicycles gave us the freedom to go as far as we could ride but get home by 6:00 for dinner. Someone always had an idea for an adventure. We took off. No one wore bike helmets or sunscreen. No one had cell phones or money.

There were nearly forty kids in my cul de sac.

Summer evenings were great. There were nearly forty kids in my cul de sac. While we each pursued our own interests during the school year, we came together on summer nights to play. Which of these street games do you remember?

Kick the Can Ollie-Ollie-Oxen-Free Four Square

Kickball Hop-scotch Chinese Jumprope

Hide and Seek Jax Tag

Statues Red Rover Mother May I

String Games Marbles Red Light Green Light

Clapping Games Blind Mans Bluff British Bulldogs

Marco Polo Seven Up Simon Says

Steal the Bacon Capture the Flag

We played until dark. Later, if no one called us in.

As the weeks of summer went on the days became less busy and mother’s started to hear, “I’m bored.” Children heard, ”If you don't have anything to do, I'll give you something to do!" from mothers counting the days until school started.

Fast forward to the late 1980s. Just out of 1st grade, Kristin understood what summer vacations were about. They were about Mom driving her. Driving her to activities at the library and church; to swimming lessons; to art class; to dance class; to play at her cousin's; to 'playdates' at friends houses; and, to McDonald's for lunch our my ‘errand’ day. We explored San Francisco, Berkeley, and the glass studios in Benicia. And, I drove her to the $1.00 movie each week giving her $2.00 more for a drink and popcorn.

Boredom set in. I started to count the days until school began. Interestingly, a close friend was a teacher at Kristin's school. She was not counting the days with the same enthusiasm I was.

Jump ahead to 1999. If you don’t know, my kids are 18 ½ years apart. Kristin started college on a Tuesday in August. I had David that Thursday.

In 2001, when David was about two years old, we moved to Yuma, Arizona. Coined by me as, "One Inch From Hell," summer temperatures soar to 116, 118, 120+ degrees and ‘cool’ at night to 105 or 108.

It was (is) not just an occasional hot day. The heat goes on for weeks and weeks.

Fortunately for David, several children lived on our street - all boys his age. Our swimming pool and our family room were the hangout spots. Every day. Swimming would start as early as 7 a.m. By 11 a.m. the hungry boys went home for ‘indoor hours’, the hottest part of the day. After four o'clock the boys would meet outside to play army, ball, and ride bikes. Or, for more swimming.

Some of our time was filled with Scouting events, Vacation Bible School, and activities at the library and art center.

Of course, there were the weekly movie days. Still $1.00 for the movie but $3.00 for a drink and $3.50 popcorn.

I began counting

the days until

school started.

In the blink of a moment that parents experience, David graduated from high school. He has a job, he drives, he owns a motorcycle and a car, and he was raised to be independent and responsible. He doesn't need me for much outside of the laundry room and kitchen. Even the word need is too strong, I am more of a convenience.

A day or two after graduation I woke up with a feeling of panic. I felt like I had forgotten to go somewhere, to do something. It was something habitual, something important, but I couldn't put my finger on it.

Then, It dawned on me! Hallelujah!

My panic came from having not planned any summer activities for David. No swimming lessons, no Boy Scout camp, no Vacation Bible School, no library story times.

For the first time in 37 years, I did not need to coordinate someone else's summer.

I no longer had any reasons to count the days until Fall.

I did though, have every reason to celebrate that I spent 37 years giving my kids summers to remember. Different from my childhood summers, but great just the same.

And, because as things change, they stay the same. These cuties are my granddaughters and my great nieces and nephew enjoying summer days in the same backyard I played in 50+ years ago.




Father's Day is June 16. Need a gift idea?

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A Vintage Addiction, Yuma, Arizona, USA

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