I never thought I’d say this, but summer feels more hectic than the school year.

Ugh.

And my kids aren’t climbing the steps to the bus for sleepaway camp, they’re not enrolled in all-day, many-weeks day camps, and they’re not over-scheduled with playdates, to-dos and outings. Really.

Somehow, because it is summer, with no bedtimes or have-to-be-somewheres, the day extends forever. I say OK to a request to lay in bed and watch TV later at night instead of reading books because how can it hurt? They wake up when they’re ready and sleep, well, when exhaustion overtakes them.

Because we can swim after dinner, we do. And then we lumber home wet and tired, with extra time to peel off the swimsuits and pour into pajamas and then somehow a second-wind appears and the bedtime I thought was so near really isn’t.

The farmers market becomes a necessary outing because all the produce is ripe right now. We hike because we can, despite the glaring sun. We’ve taken to cleaning the house as a family; I never knew housecleaning could be an Olympic activity.

The result: I am dragging more than I ever thought possible, giving summer a whole new profile. At night, I fall into bed and utter the popular refrain, I’m so tired. And the kids keep coming into our room to tell us just one more thing, to see what’s on the TV, to just sneak into bed beside us for one last cuddle.

I can’t say no. I don’t really want to. And besides, I don’t have the energy to.

The truth is, I need a vacation from summer vacation. All year long, I couldn’t wait to be freed from the rigors of schedule and routine. To be done with homework and reading charts – let’s read just for the sake of enjoying the book, damn it!

I hated waking my daughter every single morning before her body was naturally ready to awaken. I hated packing lunches. I wanted the freedom TO JUST BE.

Well, now I have it, and freedom is another animal entirely.

But there are great things about summer. When the boys have golf lessons, my daughter and I get to sit overlooking the quiet course and slowly breathe in the scent of so many trees, just the two of us.

We are barefoot a lot of the time.

Yesterday, my daughter made a lovely breakfast for the entire family because we had nowhere to rush off to. 

The barbecue, of course, is a highlight of summer.

And the possibility of what-if-we-did-this-right-now, well, that’s the freedom I was looking for all year long.

OK. I’ll deal with being tired. Maybe it’s just my old age setting in. Besides, it’s the moments that make a lifetime, and when we remove the parameters and expectations, a whole lot moments creep right in. 

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