The following is a guest post from momAgendaCOMM blogger Kim-Marie Evans.
Remember when the start of summer meant long lazy days of nothingness?
We greeted the end of every school year by blasting Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out for Summer” from our tiny cassette player in the front yard. We were rebels like that.
Summer meant entire days of eating candy, watching Gilligan’s Island and laying out in the sun.
Nobody I knew went to summer camp, tennis camp or specialized baseball pitching camp. Yet, we still grew up and knew how to build a fire, hit a forehand and throw a curve ball.
Summers were delicious in the way that an ice cold Coke Slurpee on a hot day is delicious. They were meant for total enjoyment with no expectations.
When I was little, a typical summer day meant waking up whenever. Not only did no one wake up, I’m not sure they even noticed if I did or didn’t. Actually, I’m not sure my parents noticed anything I did all summer which was the best part.
I made my own breakfast and it was rarely healthy. Remember having a bowl of sugar on the table to sprinkle on your cereal? Yes, because Frosted Flakes aren’t sweet enough.
Then I would get on my hot pink bike with the banana seat and streamers flying from the handlebars and go off looking for something to do. Some days, that meant playing at a friend’s house and some days that meant giving my brother a ride to the 7-11 on my handlebars. My mom didn’t arrange “play dates” because that wasn’t even a thing back then. In fact, I’m pretty sure she had no idea where I was all day.
The best toy we had (one of our only toys) was an inner tube. For you kids who have no idea how a tire works, that’s the rubber part that goes inside the tire. Ours was huge and was multi-purpose. In the winter it was an awesome sled; we would pile on top of it and then as we careened down the hill random kids would fly off. No one ever got sued. The rest of the year it was alternatively a trampoline or floaty for the lake.
All of the kids in the neighborhood would gather under the streetlight to play every night. I counted once; there were over 30 kids on my cul-de-sac. We played tag, freeze tag, TV tag, Red Rover, Mother May I and of course Hide and Seek. The adults were off somewhere smoking and talking about Nixon I presume. They didn’t referee our games or negotiate disputes, and Lord help the child that told on someone else, there’s nothing worse than being a tattletale.
So I’m proposing a revolution this summer. Let’s let our children figure out what they’re going to do all day. Here are some useful phrases:
“Go outside and play.”
“I don’t want to hear it.”
“Do be a dear and make mommy another margarita.”
Let’s let them be bored, it’s not really a dirty word. Let’s let them play with whatever they want, yes, toy guns included and also sharp things. Then we can really enjoy our summer because who really wants to manage play dates and officiate tag anyway?
Come on over, I’m making margaritas and playing Scrabble for money.