Summer vacation. One neat thing about being in the education field is that you have perpetual summer vacations. When May rolls around, the feverish anticipation of two months off begins. The calendar starts to get marked with red Xs. I'm not normally one to wish away time but I can't help it when it comes to the count down to summer vacation. It reminds me of being a kid when that last month was a bittersweet time filled with waiting and the slowness of time. The last week of school was filled with good byes, packing up of random bits of artwork, and teachers just trying to fill up days with coloring sheets and movies. Once you're a teenager, it's a bittersweet moment because if you're carless you're not likely to see your friends all summer.
And there was the joy of planning. Day dreaming at your desk about all that you would do. In Maine, it was swimming in lakes, sleep overs with the cousins, time spent with my dad. It was long days outside playing baseball and riding bikes. It was hot afternoons spent in the cool, old stone library across town. I usually finished the reading program fast, and the old librarian would challenge me new goals. One year I read a hundred books, sticking little half circles to a caterpillar shape to mark each story.
Now that I am older it's more than just feeling that excitement with my children. It's somewhat muted here since we home school but the joy is still there. Summer comes whether go to school or not. Now their (and mine) joy comes from knowing that H will be home with us. There is the kickoff party/grilling of Umberto's birthday. Swimming season starts and we spend nearly every afternoon at the pool. We grill three or four times a week, enjoying the smoky taste of hot dogs and grilled veggies. There are late walks when the heat of the day dies down. There are afternoon movies. Late mornings. The sheer joy of time coming to a still.