No, it’s not just you. All the parents lost their shit this summer.
And then they got over it.
If I had to say when the longing for summer starts, it’s most likely around March. Spring is just around the corner, and you’ve had enough of the dreariness (and depressing) of the winter. But you don’t want a simple spring. No, you want summer. And not just any summer — but Summer, the one that you’ll remember for the rest of your lives.
For a few months, the dream of Summer is what gets you through most days. The thought of lazy mornings when you don’t have to get kids dressed, yell at them to brush their teeth (or have to pack any more lunches) is what keeps you sane. You think of all the fun activities you’ll do with your kids, like water balloon fights or spray painting your lawn to look like a gigantic Twister board and laughing hysterically as you collapse on the grass that now needs to be mowed again.
But you don’t care. Because Summer is on the way.
The countdown to Summer truly begins about 5-ish weeks before school ends. You’ll know it’s quickly approaching when, all of a sudden, your child’s sleepy school is now a frenzy of activities that no normal parent can possibly keep up with. There are writing celebrations, music shares, and everyone’s absolute favorite: 30 themed days to round out the school year.
Because there’s nothing more awesome than dressing up as your favorite historical figure when you’re three days out from the end of school.
Still, you smile as you try to yank an itchy white wig on your child’s head because they chose President Thomas Jefferson, who fancied wearing one.
After what seems like an incessant amount of activities that drive parents to drink, school is officially (and thankfully) over. For a moment, just a brief moment, you start to feel a twinge, and recognize it as that undeniable need to wax nostalgic about the past school year. You finally realize, with a sigh of relief, that school is over and that your child will never be in the 3rd grade again.
That moment quickly fades, though, because Summer is finally here.
Although it might differ from parent to parent, I would say that the bloom is off the rose sometime between 7:30 a.m. -9:00 a.m. on the first day of Summer break. That’s usually when parents realize that, damn, their kids are staying home with them — all day long. They won’t know what breakfast they want to eat, (or they’ll want a powdered doughnut), they won’t want to brush teeth (shocker), and they’ll stay in their pajamas. But you won’t mind, because you can’t count how many times you did the morning drop off still in your own jammies.
It’ll be 30 minutes later when the first fight of Summer breaks out between your kids. It will, of course, be over something really stupid, like who got the bigger pancake or if Unicorse on Bluey is real or not (spoiler: he’s a puppet). You’ll look at your phone to see what time it is, because surely, the kids are late for school. Alas, they’re not, because it’s Summer.
You white knuckle it through the first day of Summer, and cry into your pillow at night. All your dreams for Summer have been dashed — and you’re only 24 hours into it. You can’t even imagine how you’ll get through the next 60-ish days, especially if they’re anything like the first.
Yet, somehow, you do.
In between squashing squabbles and making sure that Everyone. Has. The. Exact. Same. Sized. Pancake., you find those tender moments, like when your child gets those precious freckles sprinkled sweetly over their nose that only come out in Summer. You eat more ice cream (for dinner, natch), and you don’t stress about bedtimes. You put on music, and you dance, even when you don’t know the moves (because every song nowadays has its own moves). You catch fireflies and look up at the night sky and hear “Sky Full of Stars” play in your mind.
Yes, you might accomplish an activity or two from your Summer Fun List. But you might not. And you realize…that’s okay. You might have lost your shit this summer more times than you could ever possibly count, (we all did) but then you made amends, vowed to do better, and, well, you did.
Just when you thought you and Summer were finally in a real relationship, you spot The Leaf. It’s not quite green anymore. It has a slightly yellowish hue, and this ain’t your first rodeo, so you know what that means. It’s time to start shopping for supplies, doing loads of laundry, and making sure to fill out those back-to-school forms.
It’s time for you and Summer to part ways.
As much as you struggled during Summer to keep your kids entertained, your house functioning, work, and the myriad of other things you can barely accomplish when the kids are in school and you have the day to yourself, you’re still going to miss it. Because even though it wasn’t easy, it was worth it. And while the smell of pumpkin spice is now in the air and there are so many things to look forward to in the fall, you’ll thank Summer for its many gifts — especially for allowing you to lose your shit, then pick you up, dust you off, and whisper in your ear, “You got this.”