Ten pounds of fun: One weary summer

A friend shared this brilliant idea that she saw on one of those parenting blogs where surely the mother has a nanny or spends her entire day posing her clean children in organic clothes in her vintage house with crumbs of homemade granola strategically placed on the floor. The idea? A giant poster, a large to-do list of summer fun and you are supposed to hang it in a common area so it’s a constant reminder to not let the summer slip by without you cramming in ten-pounds of fun into a five-pound summer.

Sounded like a good enough idea, I thought, and so on our first full day of summer vacation, my kids and I sat down with a huge piece of paper, some markers, and a hankering for a summer to remember. At first, it came easy. We wrote things like “zoo” and “park” and “have friends over.” But then we sat there and looked at this thing and I wondered why on Earth I chose such a large piece of paper.

There was a lot of blank space at the bottom. A lot.

So we had to get a little creative, to think outside the box and to reach deep within our imaginations to come up with ways to make summer break something spectacular. We filled the paper, knowing full well, of course, that our competitive personalities would require us to do the entire thing, even if on the last night before school starts that I would be making the children dig a hole in the yard by flashlight, because we wrote “put in a small pond” and by golly, we were going to cross it off our list no matter what it takes.

And just like writing things down, checking things off were easy at first. We had a campfire on the first good evening and could even check off “learn to play the ukulele” because we passed it around and can all play a good, solid C chord. The summer was off to a great start.

But then, as usual, the season kicked into high gear. There were camps and scouting events, family reunions and holidays. Before I knew it, I blinked and we were staring at late-July and still had a heap of things to do before we would let summer end.

Fun became our job, but in a good way. I am no fool to know that soon enough my children will not want to spend a morning walking through a creek and eating sandwiches at the park. I know that too soon they’ll be off with their own friends and not want to tour the zoo with their goofy mother. And I know for certain that they won’t think it’s nearly as exciting to make ice cream in a plastic baggie as they do now. (This is actually pretty exciting as an adult. Not to mention surprisingly delicious.)

And so I fully subscribe to this “fun-til’-you-drop” summer of wonder, even though it’s wearing me out to the point of exhaustion.

I wake up in the morning and roll my weary self out of bed only to check the weather in hopes of a rainy day where I have a good excuse to stay inside, do some of the fourteen tons of laundry, and maybe sit down and crack open a book.

Instead I find a sunny forecast and bright eyed and bushy tailed kids, asking what we’re going to check off today, and I start a pot of coffee as big as our to-do list.

For the good of a fleeting childhood and the hopes that someday, as a parent themselves, one of them will say, “now I understand why mom drank so much coffee. But I’m so glad she did,” I will suck it up, press on, and work through my weariness.

We’ve still got to build a piece of log furniture and play putt-putt.

Visit and contact Karrie at www.KarrieMcAllister.com.


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