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Jessica Wiant

Summer carries meaning again

From the moment I marched through my college graduation several years ago, the "school year" has no longer been relevant to my daily life.

Spring, summer, winter or fall, I was at work. With no children yet, there have been no Little League or basketball seasons to fret over, no Christmas vacations to coordinate.
When school was out for summer, tomorrow was just another day.

Even after my son was born, I stumbled over conversations with other parents that involved the school schedule. I'd forget that older kids had so much else going on during certain times of year, or that day care schedules could be thrown off when the older kids were out of class on a holiday.

And even though we've lived in our current residence for several years now, I've yet to become familiar with any of the teachers or sports teams.

I have said it was all coming soon enough. A few years from now we'll be initiated back into a life that revolves around school buses and bell rings.

But for now, with most schools in the region either finished with or wrapping up, I'm finding myself affected a few years sooner than I envisioned.

Prior to now, I was working all the time anyway and the mother of a little guy too young to really have to compete with school kids for any summer activities.

This summer, as he inches closer to 3, he's more into the things that older kids are: bounce houses, swimming pools, playground equipment at the park.

And since I'm at home with him and eager for ways to keep him occupied, this suddenly presents us with a dilemma.

It feels a little bit like our space -- a world full of parks and restaurants and libraries, which days ago was ours for the taking -- is getting invaded.

Suddenly, there are big kids everywhere, from the grocery store, McDonald's, the playground. Even right next door, the neighborhood gang has already assembled.

As eager as I was for our first summer having the opportunity to patronize the public swimming pools, I am not looking forward to fighting the crowds.

I guess the bottom line is that this year summer, a season universally looked forward to, does have a down side for my household. We'll have to share all the fun stuff.

As time goes on, this problem will go away and be replaced with others. Soon enough, I'll look forward to summer as a time to get my own big kids back, as a time when we get a reprieve from the endless cycle of fighting bedtime and waking up early enough to catch the bus and as a break from nightly homework and late-night away games. Maybe some summers I'll even dread losing the time away from the kids.

Seeing the things we've had to ourselves these last few months overtaken by schoolchildren, I guess, is like a glimpse of the future -- a dose of reality -- about what I'll be facing as my son continues to grow up.
It's just another reminder to cherish the time we get with the kids in our lives. Soon enough, they won't even be kids anymore.

Contact Jessica Wiant at jessicawiant@gmail.com


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