Summer is a wonderful teacher.
Summer teaches us to slow down, to savor. And for a little while, as we build sand castles, float down a river or roast marshmallows beneath the stars, we forget about the busyness of our lives during the rest of the year.
Summer is good for us and great for our families.
This weekend we will give summer a grand bon voyage party, cramming as much as possible into our Labor Day festivities. Families will travel far for a quick trip to see the ocean one more time. Parents will grill burgers and hot dogs at Abington-area parks while their kids splash in the lake or pool. Relatives will pile into our houses and onto our backyard decks for covered-dish delights and plenty of hugs and wet smooches from Grandma.
We don’t want it to end.
We think of the days ahead in our active work-and-school year, with painfully early-morning wake-up calls and school buses joining our rush-hour traffic. We will have appointments, homework, extra-curricular activities, meetings and endless projects.
We don’t want to go back.
But we will go back.
How much better for us and for our children if we take a little of our summer with us, like the sea shells our children find on the beach and bring home? Our summer memories are not just happy thoughts. They are filled with valuable lessons to help keep our families relaxed, centered and happy all year long.
Here are some of mine, for kids – and parents.
Play outside. Run free – or walk – in the sunshine and fresh air. As hot days turn crisp and the leaves begin to change color, enjoy the scenery and keep those leg muscles strong.
Get lost in a good book. Curl up in your favorite indoor or outdoor reading spot and let your imagination run wild. Reading is one of the best ways to take a mental escape from your busy schedule. You might also learn a thing or two.
Have a picnic. Even when it’s cooler outside you can still enjoy a family picnic. If it’s too cold to go out, lay a tablecloth on the living room floor. The fact that you are changing your daily eating routine will help your family members interact with each other. No cell phones or other devices invited.
Re-connect with faraway family. Many families visit relatives on summer vacation because it is more practical than during other times of the year. But seeing them more often is something to look forward to, and it helps to keep family ties strong.
Laugh out loud. My mother used to say, “Laughter is the best medicine.” After being quiet and polite during the work or school day, let it all out. A few giggles or a big belly laugh can release a lot of stress.
Dance in the rain. You can still do this outside if it’s warm enough, and inside if it’s not. Why not?
Look at the stars. They’re up there, all year around. Don’t forget about them just because summer is gone.
A little awe and wonder are good for you.
Teri Lyon is a mom, grandmom and freelance writer who lives in Glenburn Township with her cat.