On the way to football practice tonight, C said, “Hey, Mom, you know that commercial that talks about having a summer to remember?” I nodded, and he continued, “This has definitely been one of those summers…just like last year.”

I looked at him and laughed, thinking, last year we spent 13 days in Europe. This year we haven’t ventured more than 500 miles from home, how could this possibly compare? So I asked, “Really? As good as Europe?”

He gave me that grin and said, “Just as good but different,” and then he started listing things.

We have enjoyed

  • A weekend in the Dells (waterpark heaven even though he had to watch S’s basketball tournament)
  • Two extended visits with Honey and Papa (my parents – S started calling my mom Honey when she was little, and it stuck)
  • Two trips to Kings Island (where I rode every single roller coaster with them)
  • A day at the State Fair of Wisconsin (Tim even managed to get away and go with us)
  • Visits to the aquatic center
  • A couple of trips to the lake
  • Kayaking (bonus – a t-shirt that reads, “Paddle Faster! I hear banjo music.”)
  • Nightly bike rides (not every night but a couple of times a week)
  • Lots of backyard bonfires
  • Great seats at a Cincinnati Reds game (even though they lost)
  • Hiking the Kettle Moraine North Trails and trails at The Cincinnati Nature Center
  • Staying up past bedtime
  • Sleeping in
  • Getting up in the middle of the night to watch a meteor shower, and
  • Reading books from cover to cover without having to stop.

Throw in

  • an awesome baseball season (he consistently got on base; even batted in the winning run a couple of games)
  • his first full week of sleep away camp which included a day at Six Flags Great America
  • a second week of camp filled with swimming, biking, fishing, archery, and kayaking
  • three days of football camp
  • Bowling birthday parties
  • Nerf battles
  • Boy and dog moments (Brownie hears him say, “C’mon boy!” and he heads to the door), and
  • Football practice starting (first day in full pads was better than Christmas).

And we can’t forget S. She filled the calendar with

  • Basketball tournaments (AAU and 3-on-3)
  • Shopping trips to the outlet malls near several of those tournaments
  • Basketball camp
  • Summer basketball league
  • A week of camp in the Apostle Islands
  • A week of Leaders in Training camp
  • Three weeks as a volunteer junior counselor (princess camp, fishing camp, junior kayak camp), and
  • Dirt track racing (watching not driving – lol).

And while I go back to work (officially) tomorrow, C reminded me that summer doesn’t technically end for a few more weeks, so we have time to squeeze in

  • The County Fair this weekend
  • Another kayak trip or two
  • More hikes in Kettle Moraine North Trails
  • At least three or four more bonfires, and
  • Maybe a Brewers game.

As he walked across the field toward his practice, I had to smile. My summer to-do list has very little checked off (I REALLY did plan on organizing the office!), but that’s okay.  In between working on my dissertation proposal and summer curriculum work, we had one of those summers.

When they were little, I had a sign hanging in my kitchen that read, “Cooking and cleaning can wait til tomorrow for babies grow up, we’ve learned to our sorrow. So settle down cobwebs, and dust go to sleep. I’m rocking my babies, and babies don’t keep.”

I figure I only have five summers left when they are both at home, and even fewer where they think it’s cool to hang out with their mom. They’ve already started planning next summer.

  • C thinks Kings Island should be an annual event
  • S thinks we need to take an alternate route to Honey and Papa’s house and spend a day in Cedar Point.
  • They both think kayaks would make great Christmas gifts
  • S wants us to go to Pictured Rocks, and
  • I think we need to use those passports again and cross Lake Superior into Canada.

When it’s all said and done, what do I really want them to remember? A perfectly clean house? A place for everything and everything in its place?

No, I want them to have memories that bring smiles to their faces.

I want them to have summers to remember.