Stunned Summer Silence
Today was our official first day of summer vacation. My boys’ last day of school was yesterday, so that meant today was a stay-in-your-jammies-for-the-whole-morning and spend-the-afternoon-at-the-town-pool kind of day.
My first pleasant surprise was that my boys asked me if they could go outside to play this morning when I told them that, no, they could not just wake up and play video games. I braced myself for a gripe fest and instead found myself watching them run up the stairs in a blur to get dressed so they could go outside.
“Do we have to wear shirts?” my younger son asked.
On a regular school day, the question that is usually shouted downstairs is, “Is today a collared shirt day?” But on this, the first day of summer vacation, I smiled at the change and happily replied that they could go shirtless since the forecast was triple digits.
Before I knew it, however, my three-year-old daughter was running out the door in her Crocs and pajama shorts with no shirt, trying to catch up to her brothers. A small tantrum and a tank top later, she was out there keeping pace with them while I emptied backpacks and cleaned out lunch boxes.
I have to say, there is something quite wonderful about being able to tidy up the kitchen and empty the dishwasher in a quiet house, knowing that all three of my kids are safely playing in our yard with water guns, bubbles and buckets. A few peeks out the window for headcounts, and I actually got a few things accomplished! Much easier than the regular morning shuffle of scarf down your breakfast, race to get dressed, make lunches, pack backpacks and head out for school dropoff or carpool.
I didn’t have multiple kids’ schedules to adhere to, or any chauffeuring at all to juggle. We ate lunch peacefully together and the only rushing around was kid-induced.
Once we got to the pool in the afternoon, it only got better. My boys both found their friends and my daughter and I both found ours, too. Chit chatting with moms, cooling off from the heat, and twirling my daughter and her friend around in the water was a great way to spend a few hours. When it was time to leave, no one even complained. They were all hungry and I only had to make one
bribe promise of a snack in the car on the way home to get them to pack up and head out.
The greatest gift of the day, though, was after we arrived home. All kids showered and changed out of wet bathing suits, but my oldest asked if he could just put his pajamas on since we were home for the night. The idea caught on and, before I knew it, I had three clean, pajama-clad kids…at 5:00PM.
I busied myself in the kitchen making a dip for my book club tonight and realized after a few beats that it was eerily quiet. Not wanting to disturb the serenity, I quietly walked around the house to check on my kids. My oldest was sprawled out on his bed, reading one of his new books. My youngest was quietly coloring in her My Little Pony coloring book. And my middle child was lying on the floor playing a game of solitaire. The real kind of solitaire with actual cards. No one had even thought to ask for screen time. It was the witching hour and no one was fighting, crying, whining, or running crazy.
They were worn out. The threw themselves into their summer vacation activities with full force and spent all of their energy playing and being kids.
It was miraculous.
I have no idea if this will ever happen again. Maybe it’s a once-a-year event, like the Summer Solstice. Maybe this will only ever happen on the first day of summer vacation. Maybe it will only happen this year at these particular ages. Who knows? All I know is that I looked around, tiptoed back to my kitchen, and smiled the most contented smile to myself as I continued to dice tomatoes.
Welcome, summer. I’m so glad you’re back.