So, I did it again. I was over ambitious on our summer bucket list. I forgot that I work, my husband works, my kid likes to sleep at night (and so do I), and there are some weekends where sitting at home in the comfort of our air-conditioned house sounds like way more fun than another day of adventures in the heat and humidity of a Midwest summer day.
Now, this is not to say that I didn’t try. I tried my best to fit in as many amazing summer fun experiences as I could cram into each evening and weekend. Worlds of Fun on a Thursday night? Sure, why not. Skipping dinner and going out for ice cream instead? Of course, it’s summer. We fed the goats at Deanna Rose. We checked out the Museum at Prairiefire and SuperKidz Club. We really did manage to check off a good number of items off our Summer Fun List.
But then there are the things that are still left unchecked. Surprisingly, we never did seem to track down that ice cream truck. We skipped going down to Legoland this year. We didn’t even have a water balloon fight in the backyard.
Am I sad that we didn’t do that picnic in the park that I had planned? Maybe a little. But am I going to stress about it and beat myself up about it? No.
I have to remind myself (and my constantly wanting to “go do something fun” five-year-old) that summer is about having fun, but it’s also about slowing down from our busy schedules. It’s not stressing about strict bedtimes. There’s no homework or lunch boxes to be packed. It’s our time to relax together as a family. To refresh our minds and bodies before we kick off another school year filled with PTA meetings, dance classes, and too many busy days and nights.
Summer should be fun. Even for working parents, summer should offer at least a small break from the normal Monday through Friday grind we do during the other nine months of the year. I’m learning that it’s so important that we don’t stress ourselves out over what we can and can’t accomplish during a week of vacation or even three months of summer break.
It’s okay if all your crazy big plans don’t always happen. It’s okay if none of them happened. It’s important to focus less on all the items that we know we won’t cross off that bucket list and instead focus on how we can make the most of those memories that we are able to create in these 18 summers we get with our children.
So, it’s okay if you didn’t finish that summer bucket list. Whatever you did or didn’t do, your kids just love that you were there, showing up, trying, and creating a memory together.