There is always a little bit of sadness that accompanies the end of school. Even though it means the end of homework, the structure is gone, the friends are scattered, there are days to fill.
So, at the end of every school year, our family makes a list of things to do, usually overly ambitious, which serves as sort of a guidepost for summer. This year, my son remembers things we didn't do last year and complains about not doing them. What he doesn't realize yet is that thinking and planning summer is almost as good as doing it. The anticipation can be a happiness goal.
Speaking of happiness...my sister sent me a book called The Happiness Project. Originally begun as a blog, it turned into a best-selling book. The author broke down her "happiness goals" by month. Her categories were things such as decluttering, exercising, improving her marriage, improving her relationship with money as well as friends. My sister wants to do her OWN happiness project with me,so I told her I'd go ahead and do it with her. It's sort of like the idea of writing down what you eat when you go on a diet, you record things in a log or notebook and pay more attention to the little things. It serves to clear the mind, in the same way that making New Year's resolutions does.
The end of the school year/beginning of summer is as good a time as any to reflect on goals. When each school year ends, I am more and more aware of time passing. I start counting....how many more summers will I have with my 12 year old son? Maybe we SHOULD take that cross-country trip that we always talked about. My sister is doing this very thing. She has 3 boys, age 13, 11 and 4. Is there ever a perfect time? No. Will the 4 year old remember it? Probably not. But the older ones will.
Her planning this trip helps to increase MY anticipation of our own possible cross country trip. Which path should we take? Which sites should we visit? How far off the beaten path can we go? What can we do that will be a memory that my kids can hold onto until THEIR kids are old enough to go?
In closing I leave you with some items for our Summer "To Do" list:
play in the sprinkler
climb a tree
go strawberry or blueberry picking (can already cross that one off!)
water balloon fights (check)
creek walking (check)
craft days (check)
catch a frog (check)
get muddy (check)
make a mosaic table
sleep in the backyard
watch for snakes (check)
watch movies from Mom and Dad's era (check)
make a pond
have a Star Wars movie viewing party
giant Nerf war
put on a play
go to farmer's markets
eat cherries and peaches
stare into the sunset (check)