What Every Parent Wants This Summer

by Wendy Wisner
Originally Published: 

Just like a kid waiting for the last day of school, I get giddy with excitement when June rolls around. I start to have all these fantasies of what summer will be like — the beaming sun, the freedom, all the adventures we’ll have.

Fantasies are very different from reality, especially when you’re a parent. And yet — can’t a girl dream? Yes, our summer days will be filled with a fair share of whining, especially to the tune of “I’m bored!” but there will also be moments I will cherish. Actually, most of parenting is like that — 75% drudgery, 25% magic. Except the magic touches us so deeply all the other stuff melts away — well, most of it.

So here’s what I want this summer (with a healthy dose of reality thrown in):

I want to get out of bed slowly, without the dreaded school-rush ahead of me, and linger a little longer over my cup of tea (even if that means letting the kids watch a few extra episodes of Daniel Tiger).

I want mornings of sprinklers, sidewalk chalk, dance parties, making our own obstacle courses, cooking pancakes together, loosening up naptime schedules, ice cream for breakfast on a whim (even if my 2-year-old insists that we must have ice cream every morning for the next three months).

I want afternoons of bike rides, water guns, impromptu trips to the pool (even if sunblock gets in the 2-year-old’s eyes and he screams for an hour, and even if I have to pack towels, suits, snacks, and so much junk that it’s like going on a three-day cruise every time I leave the house).

I want evenings of fireflies, sunsets, running to the ice cream truck, eating dinner outside, and long walks to the dock (even if we are ravaged by mosquitoes; even if the kids stay up too late and are cranky; even if dinner is infested by all manner of bugs; even if the kids need to be carried home from the dock).

I want nights of them sleeping like rocks after long, hot days, their hair smelling of chlorine and sunblock. I want to sit by their beds inhaling them, knowing this is the only summer they will be exactly two and eight years old, with these particular passions and haircuts and quirks and interests (even if I am so bone-tired and sun-stroked I can’t keep my eyes open long enough to read a single book from the big pile I promised myself I’d get to this summer).

I know that after a few weeks, I will start to want a little more structure, a little less heat, a little less chaos. I will start fantasizing about backpacks, fresh pencils, pumpkins, and foliage.

But right now all I want is to get a good seat by the pool, put my feet up, and sip something cold and sweet (even if a wet, snotty, drippy mess of a kid throws himself into my lap, knocks over my drink, and insists on using me as a towel).

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