Running Out of Summer

The beach: It's on my summer bucket list.

The beach: It’s on my summer bucket list.

I’m not a fan of the phrase “bucket list.”  I’m a bit of a fuddy-duddy when it comes to language. I really hate it when a relatively unknown term becomes part of our collective lexicon as the result of a movie—or television show or song—and everyone treats it like they’ve been saying it their entire life. Sure, I used it in my last blog entry, but I cringed as I typed it. Couldn’t you tell?

As a list-maker and goal-setter, however, I appreciate the concept of a bucket list, and although I don’t have a by-the-end-of-my-life, must-accomplish to-do list, I do go into shorter periods of time, like a season, thinking about all I want to do to savor the moment and make some memories.

Since having children, these lists are less about what I want to accomplish and more about the experiences I want them to have. I imagine that they will eventually make their own lists and forget about what I think is important, but for now, they are five and three. They have no money. They have no transportation. They have to go along with my plan.

Only in the past couple of days have I realized that we are running out of summer. In just a week and a half, my daughter will be starting kindergarten—not pre-school, but bona fide, attendance-keeping, mandatory, school bus-riding formal education—and we have so much left undone! What about our summer bucket list?  Back in May, I had my children help me compose a list of fun things to do in the summer, and so many items are left undone.

I’m not panicking over it, but I am a little sad. We only have a week and a half left before school takes over our lives. Sure, that will be an adventure, too, but what about summer?

Just so you know what our list looks like, I will share:

  • Go to the beach. Yeah, that’s on everyone’s list, isn’t it? I grew up going to the beach a lot, and now, I can’t believe I haven’t seen the ocean in an entire year.
  • Crabbing. I grew up doing this, too, and I own a lot of crabbing equipment beyond a line and a net. In my freezer, I have a whole lot of chicken necks I bought last year—for the expressed purpose of crabbing. Last summer wasn’t a great time for savoring the season either.
  • Chubby Bunny Contest. Okay, this doesn’t have to be done in the summer, but I bought marshmallows to host a chubby-bunny contest when my nephew was visiting from Norway, but we never got around to it.
  • Fireworks. Nope, we didn’t see a single display this summer. I have packs of sparklers, however. I think we may have to light them and call it a night!
  • Baseball Game. See my last entry. Feel my disappointment.
  • Amusement park. Not in the budget this year. And they’ve only recently started asking if we could ride a rollercoaster.

As I look at this list, a manic part of me says, “It’s not too late! You can do all this! Right now! Go, go, go!” and the manic-me is somewhat right. Minor league baseball season doesn’t end until the end of the month, and the certain games end with a firework display. So, check and check! Chubby-bunny contest? Hey, we can do that today if we want. Check! Crabbing? I have the equipment and I live near the Bay. It’s the matter of thawing some chicken necks and just going. Check.

The beach and the amusement park are a little trickier.

We have granny-care three days per week, but it’s only for five hours per day. The beach—as in the OCEAN, not the Bay—is two and a half hours away. So, we could get there, and say, “Ah! Look at the ocean! Quick! Back to the car! Run, run, run!” And yes, I’m sure we could ask Deborah (aka granny-care person) to stay longer than just five hours, but for her to accommodate that request, I have to ask her more than a week in advance so that she can have her other work schedule adjusted.

Then, there is the amusement park, and that’s about both time and money. I don’t want to spend the money on the tickets unless I know we are going to stay for the entire day. We have to find the time and buy the tickets in advance from a discounted source. Six Flags is close to our house—really, only 20 minutes away! They are open on weekends through October. Of course, our

So, perhaps the key to doing all this is to mentally extend the summer beyond the first day of school. The unofficial end of summer is Labor Day, but the seasonal end is September 20th. Phew! That gives us another month of summer, so we will go with the seasonal end.

Sometimes, I’m tempted to feel sorry for my children because our lives have been so consumed with my mother-in-law’s care and cleaning out her house. For them, summer has not been about vacations, summer camps, VBS, swimming lessons, pool parties or any of those other things we associate with childhood summers, but they have parents who love them AND summer has not been boring for them. They have had fun. I know. I’ve seen them having fun!

In the spirit of being up-beat, here is a list of things we did do:

  • Made ice cream. Chocolate, blueberry, and strawberry. I usually do a lot more flavors, but this counts. Our homemade chocolate ice cream is the best in the world. I know it!
  • Ate crabs. Okay, so we didn’t have to catch them to enjoy them! We went to Thursday’s and ordered them by the dozen. They were soooo good!
  • Played in sprinkler. We did this a lot—mostly because we can do this without leaving home.
  • Went to FREE kid movies. A local cinema has free movies every Tuesday and Wednesday morning. Did I mention they are FREE? Why wouldn’t you go to that? It’s FREE.
  • Bought local produce from a roadside stand. Of course! This is one of my favorite things about living in rural southern Maryland. These stands just spring up on the side of the road.
  • Swam in a pool. We did that while in the mountains.
  • Swam in a lake. Ditto.
  • Played putt-putt. The kids did this with their father, uncle, and cousins while we were in the mountains. Honestly, if it weren’t for that mountain trip, our summer would have been kind of lacking.
  • Picked and ate berries from backyard.
  • Filled hummingbird feeder; fed ducks at the pier; saw a fox, lots of rabbits and groundhogs; observed a baby vulture learning to fly. Yeah, we are all about the wildlife around us.

If I think about it hard enough, I’m sure I can come up with a few more items for this list. It’s been a good enough summer, and my summer bucket list has more to do with what I think is important than what they want—although going to the beach is something they both mention often! And I know that in the end, we are making memories of one type or another no matter what we do. If they look back on their childhood and complain about any of it, I will know I have raised whiners.

It’s been a good enough summer.

Ha! As I write this, they are eating homemade peach pie for breakfast. Yeah, it’s kind of hard for me to feel sorry for people who get pie for breakfast.



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