Today is the first day of Summer Vacation for Abi and Lee, and when I say the word, "vacation," I exhale. Last week was a little bit too crazy for me, I think, with a graduation party, a high school graduation, a middle school promotion, an awards ceremony, a field trip, a classroom party, PTA duties during the week, and a PTA event on Saturday. Vacation. I exhaled again.
Want to really see me excited? Just bring on Summer Vacation. I have always loved it. So much so, that I capitalize it out of respect. Summer Vacation. I love having my kids around, and getting to enjoy the unique festivities we reserve for the hotter months.
Things like BBQ-ing, going to Baskin Robbins for ice cream cones, taking trips to the beach, and the simple things like enjoying some weeks without the pressure of homework, and maintaining a crazy school year schedule for 7 people.
But like any vacation, even a Summer Vacation at home will be more successful with a lot of work going into it. For instance, I had a pow-wow after dinner last week with all 5 kids over our need to pick up after ourselves, and I made sure to seek and hold eye contact with the usual offenders. We also went over the assigned household chores, so that everyone knows what is expected of them, and everyone knows what the other one is supposed to do. Accountability is a powerful tool.
As Lee grows, he can have more responsibilities assigned to him. I've added to his weekly chore list. He has to clean his bedroom window sill, and empty his bedroom trash every Saturday.
Summer Vacation also allows for me some concentrated time to really target character issues I see need work during the school year. I do work with the kids as I see things come up, but there is something very good about having that time at home, and away from school, when it seems my influence is stronger.
Lee is our little mimic. I swear, the kid has a future in the entertainment industry. He can take on the facial expression, voice inflection, and body language of other people like nobody I know. And sadly, the kids he tends to be drawn to for inspiration seem to be the troubled ones. He had no shortage of boys in his class this year who were naughty beyond belief. I would be in Lee's class volunteering, and would leave shaking my head over the behavior of some of these kids. But, then at home, when my little guy would act out, I would actually see and hear the bad kid in his class coming out in Lee. Kind of freaked me out, actually. I was on it like a madwoman saying things like, "You are not ______, Lee. It is not OK for him to say those things and behave that way in class, and it is DEFINITELY not OK for you to say them at home, or act this way."
I am so happy he'll be away from the influences this summer, so that we can encourage good behavior, and build up in Lee, well, Lee rather than someone else he is trying to act like. He's a complex child, with a depth of thought and feeling that never ceases to take my breath away when he reveals it. Somehow, family crisis seemed to jade him a little, taking away too much of the youthful and carefree childhood experience no child should ever have to grow without. I have worked super hard at helping him feel more secure, and confident, but I still see troubling signs that he is really neither, in many ways. Concentrated time to infuse a positive and healthy perspective is always welcome.
They have been with their dad since Friday evening, and they're coming home today. This week holds a flurry of activity. Abi's going to a party. Two have dentist appointments. One has an event this week, working for an organization that feeds the malnourished, and hungry. The two college girls still have class, I have a Life in L.A. assignment today, and Saturday, and I'm painting the bedrooms this week. Hardly a quiet week at home, but nothing like last week. But it's a break from our school year routine, and we were all ready for it.
Realistically, I'll be very ready to jump back onto the routine come August. Too much of a good thing ceases to be good after a while. But, I'm ready to enjoy it now, while we can. Now, to the baking of some Banana-Oatmeal Muffins as a Welcome Home for some kids I really, really miss.