When my kids were little, we would embrace the beginnings of summer with great enthusiasm. Swimming was new again. Splash pads were exciting. We would move to the summer camp where my husband worked and do water slides, play putt putt and pickle ball, go kayaking, jump on trampolines, do archery and pick peaches, visit the petting zoo …. For outings, we would visit library storytimes and take trips to the lakes. Every day felt like summer vacation.
By mid-summer, we had done it ALL. Over and over. Life began to feel like a vacation that went on a little too long. I’m a planner, but I was all planned out. The days seemed endless. And hot.
Our outings became driving the golf cart through sprinklers. Although fun, it also represented a desperation to think up new ideas to survive the summer.
Then one day, we found a stack of scrap paper strips and made idea cards. A LOT of idea cards. It was an activity in itself that kept us busy writing and decorating for awhile. It also gave everyone a voice in planning.
The ideas included simple things (play in dirt piles, eat popsicles, do puzzles, visit a thrift store) to all-day trips (ride the glass bottom boat in San Marcos and eat ice cream, swim at Krause Springs, visit the Science Mill in Johnson City and eat pizza with grandparents). Making the cards sparked new ideas, and we continued to add more as ideas popped up.
My kids are now 17 and 20. But I still have the cards in my kitchen drawer. All these years later, there are still a few we haven’t tried yet. So, when my oldest gets back from studying abroad this month, we just might finally visit Fort Croghan to spice up the end of summer. Because even in college, there’s still summertime.