It’s summertime y’all. Summer entrenched itself as my favorite season during my tenure as a teacher. Before that, fall was my favorite with its cozy campfires and corn mazes.
But fall is anticipation and excitement and the word that I refuse to allow in my summer: STRUCTURE.
Listen, I know structure is good. There’s a loosy-goosy handwritten routine of our everyday up on my refrigerator right now.
I made it so my kids would know at what times during the day it was permissible to subject me to endless rounds of Disney channel canned comedy via Netflix.
A very small space for that is right after rest time and before dinner time. I delight a little much in shredding mountains of zucchini in the food processor and interrupting their show.
Mostly our daily routine includes “free time” and “activity time”. It’s less structure and more a guideline. Like my friend Michael Flake used to say the yellow lines on 129 over the mountain to Suches were.
Our guideline of a routine reminds me to leave plenty of room for margin, but recognize that my kids thrive better when they have an idea of what’s coming next. It’s helping me say no to some of the great things we’ve always pursued in the past, because, let’s just face it. Nobody can do everything all the time.
So far this summer we haven’t made it to the library. Not because we are well over our $10 fine limit. (Just helping keep the lights on, that’s all.) We just haven’t found space for it yet.
We haven’t been camping, even though it was on the calendar. Weather channel said it was going to rain. That prediction, coupled with the fact that we’ve never camped without rain, meant this trip got cut from the schedule.
We haven’t swum at Lake Russell. You all know why that is.
Just kidding….we don’t usually frequent Lake Russell. Our swimming holes come with a state park pass and a picnic under the beech trees down by the creek at Unicoi. On Memorial Day, we hunted up the Seed Lake recreation area. My husband is already planning an adventure, so I’ll guess we’ll be up there sometime soon.
We haven’t cut open a watermelon because I don’t care that Ingles marked them down to $3.98. Watermelons aren’t in season around here yet. But we also haven’t stopped at Fritchey’s or had peach ice cream at Jaemor’s.
We did make it out to Red Dust Ranch for Farm Day. I do a little work on the side for the Hook family, who owns 70 acres of sheer beauty and delivers a weekly CSA bag to my doorstep. We go to Red Dust to remember why our garden is small, and how I’m handier with Microsoft Word than soft dirt.
But summer’s just begun. It’s barely tipped its toe into the waters of June, and there are weeks ahead waiting for the glory of being filled. Even if it’s with nothing more than popsicles on my front porch.
Originally published by The Northeast Georgian, June 2015.