Gray Matters — Best summer ever
Belfast — This is an interesting time of year, as it is often one that often brings lots of change for all members of the household.
Getting the boy ready for his return to school, and the beginning of his official status as a shiny new third grader, means a change in my own routine as well.
While Shane's evenings have gone from the lazy summer nights of watching his favorite movies or sitting up for the occasional late-night snack or chess game, he now spends his evenings doing his homework, completing his nightly reading and getting his backpack ready for school the next day.
It also means change for me as a mom, as now I too, have to give up some of that fun time after work in order to get the more pressing matters taken care of — filling out all the back-to-school forms, preparing his lunch, getting dinner on the table and then moving Shane toward bath and bed time.
Not that the changes aren't good, quite the contrary. I always look forward to a new year of seeing Shane grow as a young student, and I don't mind having a few extra tasks in the evening.
I also believe the change allows one the chance to look back on the summer and really appreciate it.
Summer, after all, has always been my favorite time of year. As a child I can remember my family making the most of the fast-flying days of the warmest time of year and because of it, my brother and I always had a hard time writing those essays about what we did on our summer vacations. Geez, it felt like we did a little bit of everything!
All different kinds of summer fairs were often woven in between the regular camping trips and family gatherings, barbecues and long holiday weekend celebrations.
For the first time this year, I feel like I was able to give my son a similar experience, and in doing so, I got the chance to relive some of my own favorite summer memories.
This is the first summer in many years I was able to coordinate my vacation time with that of my family, which allowed us to take a camping trip to the place I remembered spending many days as a youth — alongside the Penobscot River. Not a television, DVD player, laptop, hand held device or any other technology in sight for days (even our cell phones didn't get reception for miles), and despite that disconnect, Shane said he had the best time ever and he can't wait to go back again.
And neither can I!
We attended some great local fairs, spent the day in Brooks for the annual Forth of July shindig, took in parades, went on canoe rides, went fishing and sat around more than a few campfires during the warm nights. We went to family reunions, visited with Pirates at Fort Knox, and Shane even went on his first big trip to Funtown. And that's just a sampling of all the fun stuff we made time to do this year.
It was really the best summer I've had in recent memory, and I think part of that is because Shane had the best summer he's ever had, too. We got to experience a lot of new things together, and I got the chance to show him some of my favorite places and pass times from when I was a little girl.
Even though we just survived the first week of school, we are already talking about what we'd like to do next summer (hey, it's never too early to start planning, especially if it's for the fun stuff).
I think this is the first summer I myself would struggle with what I would choose to highlight were someone to ask me to write one of those "my summer vacation" essays. I don't think I really could pick one event that made the summer truly great, but all of it allowed me to spend lots of time with Shane, either teaching him something new or exposing him to different activities.
I think as a mom, that is what defines the quality of my summer. While I might not have the whole summer off like I did when I was in school, and I haven't jumped from a rope swing at the old swimming hole for many years, I get a new kind of joy from the season. Things like Shane's smiling face after his grandfather let him try paddling the canoe for the first time, that's my new kind of summer memory.
So if I had to answer that question about what I did this summer, I guess the best and most honest response I can offer is simply, "I had the best time ever."