What Summer is For

I got up at 8:00 this morning, the sun peaking through the cracks on my matchstick blinds, and I felt virtuous for getting up so early, a sign that summer is in full swing.

I believe summer mornings are best served up lazy. I relish getting out of bed when I'm ready to get up, not when my alarm dictates. I let my kids lounge in their pajamas until noon and watch Bubble Guppies and Team Umizoomi until they turn off the TV. I might serve breakfast at 11:30. (Hey, it's still morning.)

I want the plan being no plan, at least for part of the day.

I'm not normally like that. The rest of the year, I bleed organization. This past school year, I had a schedule that ran so smoothly, it was like living inside a Lear jet engine; my weeks positively hummed.

I would get up around 7:00 (::cough:: 7:30 ::cough::) and shower, get my kids ready for school, feed everyone breakfast and then swoosh everyone into the minivan by 8:30 for the drive to school. Three mornings a week, Teyla had preschool, so those mornings, Kieran and I would hit up Target and Trader Joe's or head to the community center so I could work out and he could play at his own "school." (Brag alert: I worked out consistently two mornings a week the entire school year thanks to Teyla's schedule.) The mornings Teyla didn't have preschool, I would leave the littles in their pajamas for the school run and then we'd come home and watch TV or paint or clean the house or maybe head to the Children's Museum. The ying-yang of the busy mornings spaces with the lazy mornings was pitch perfect for me.

Lunch was around 12:30 each day, nap for Kieran (::cough:: and me ::cough::) at 1:30 while Teyla watched Strawberry Shortcake on the iPad and then we'd leave at 2:50 (::cough:: 3:00 ::cough::) to pick up the kids at school. Afternoons we might do homework or watch PBS Kids or play Legos or go outside until 5:00, when it was time for me to make dinner. We'd eat, play, bathe, read books, snuggle, pray, snooze. The end.

My weeks were so well-ordered, I almost didn't have to think about anything. I just flowed from one spot to another. Of course, it also meant I had to keep moving. At 7:30 each morning, I was forced to get up. Lunches had to be packed for the next day, homework had to be done, bedtime had to be at a decent hour. Even if the schedule is a thing of beauty, it starts to feel like a prison after a while, a taskmaster glowering at you if you miss a beat.

Maybe that's why I love summer so much. It practically demands schedules be thrown to the wind. Stay up late! Eat one more s'more! Sit next to the pool and watch your kids swim instead of cleaning the house! Drink your coffee on the front porch and let your toddler explore the new flowers. Don't plan too much or rush ahead. Relish this moment, when the sunshine is bright on your skin and the breeze is tickling the trees and your children are laughing with the joy of a spontaneous football game with Dad in the backyard. Inhale the smoke from the bonfire, built for no other reason than you like to hear the wood snap and hiss. Make homemade ice cream. Go Up North. Spend too much at the fair.

Fall will be here soon enough. The schedules will return, days will be organized and your calendar full.

But not today. Not this morning. Pour a second up of coffee and linger. It's what summer is for.