The Summer That Wasn’t: Tale of The Lost Season

No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks … It’s been nine weeks since school ended and summer vacation began. But with only a few days left before the kids return to school, I’m left wondering, where did the summer go?

Summer used to be my favorite season. I loved summer. I would sit on the beach for virtually the entire day,  listening to music, reading magazines and gossiping with my girlfriends … It was the best! And even after I got married and had kids, I still loved summer. Lazy days with my girlfriends at the beach turned into slightly less lazy but still pretty chill days at the beach club, surrounded by my kids, club friends and the most useful person ever to a beach club mom with young children — the cabana boy.

Back in the day, this was my regular summer view. #beachlife

Then we moved to Pennsylvania. Living more than 90 minutes from the shore, we had to trade in our beach club for a local pool club, but overall, summer living was still pretty great. Sure, I missed the ocean breeze, but our low-key neighborhood pool was small, private and felt more like sitting in a friend’s backyard with a lifeguard than anything else. It worked …Until it didn’t.

A few years back, the boys started playing travel/summer ball. First it was baseball, then they each transitioned to lacrosse. The spring sports season bled into summer and before I knew it, it was the end of July and I had spent more time sitting on a lacrosse field than I had sitting poolside. Sure, we still went to the pool club now and then, but we had to rush out each afternoon to make it to some practice somewhere in some other town. Luckily, because school starts the week before Labor Day, we had just enough time to squeak in a quick week at the beach, send the boys to New York to visit family for a few days and cram in some back-to-school shopping and haircuts before calling it quits for the season. It wasn’t exactly lazy and carefree, but it worked. Sort of.

When summer vacations were the norm. #beachvacations

Fast forward to this summer — the shortest one yet. Pre-season football weightlifting and conditioning mingled with travel lacrosse, absorbing most of our time until late July. [And to clarify, I say our time because, while the schedule only pertained to my oldest son (a rising high school freshman), someone (read: me) still needed to drive him to his respective practices each day.] Then, just a short week later, high school football practice officially kicked in with acclimation sessions and two-a-day practices that lasted well into the evening, thanks to stadium lights. So our usual late summer family beach vacation didn’t happen. My favorite kidless August days while the boys go to New York didn’t happen.* Even the pool club didn’t happen. This summer was all about lacrosse, football and driving — to practice, from practice, to tournaments, from tournaments … I had to do more squats in the gym this summer just to make up for all the time I sat on my bum!

This was a more common view during the summer of 2017. #laxlife

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bitter. Okay, maybe I am a little. I miss the lazy days of summer. I miss not having an agenda or timetable to keep. I miss the ocean air, the beach club and the cabana boy. But truth be told, I’m not much of a summer girl anymore unless I’m by the shore. Yes, I love to wear tank tops and flip flops and have tanned skin, but I hate the heat and humidity and how my hair gets frizzy and my legs stick to every chair I sit on. I know, I know — first world problems. I shouldn’t complain. It’s just that I’m so good at it and you should play up your strengths, right?

So when I ask, “Where did the summer go?”,  I know the answer. I just don’t like it.

– LJDT

*Disclaimer: My younger son still went to New York for two weeks, but with one home, I wasn’t exactly kidless and I certainly wasn’t lazy or carefree.

Playing Hooky, For Kid’s Sake

Friday was a warm, sunny day here in Pennsylvania — the perfect day to play hooky. Being the super awesome mom that I am (read sarcastically), I surprised my younger son with a day off from school and took him and a buddy to the NFL Draft Experience in Philadelphia as an early birthday present. My soon-to-be-11-year-old is a football fanatic, so this was a dream come true for him. Was I the coolest mom, or what? Yeah, I was … until I wasn’t.

Skipping school to attend the NFL Draft Experience … Life is good!

If you know anything about me, you know this type of event is not my thing. Far from it. Here are just a few reasons why:

  • I like my routine (morning workout, breakfast, errands, shower, lunch, writing, etc.). This was not my routine.
  • I am an introvert and need alone time each day to recharge. I did not get down time on Friday.
  • I despise crowds and have a mild case of social anxiety. Reported crowd size: 100,000 people.
  • I have too many food allergies to eat from a concession stand and outside food was prohibited. I subsisted on a bag of almonds I snuck in.
  • I drink a ton of water and pee a lot. Port-a-potties are my nemesis (I peed down my leg twice trying to avoid touching the hole/seat).
  • I get very swollen ankles when I stand for too long. Nearly 12 hours at the NFL Draft Experience = Fred Flinstone feet.
  • I am childishly impatient. Every activity had a line and every line was l-o-n-g-g-g-g!
  • I love the hot sun when I’m sitting on the beach. Philadelphia is not the beach.
  • I would do anything to make my kids happy. Case in point.

Needless to say, this was not my ideal way to spend a Friday playing hooky. I’d rather be relaxing at a spa or sitting on the beach, reading a book. But this wasn’t about me. It was about my child. Yes, I did have one or two (or maybe even three) meltdowns along the way, but I sucked it up and stuck it out for his sake because that’s what parents do; We make sacrifices for our kids, big and small. We do things we may not want to do to make them happy. Seeing my son’s face after completing the mock combine drills, hearing him talk about meeting Le’Veon Bell and watching him cheer as they called the next draft pick was pure happiness. And that was what this day was all about. So while I’d rather stick needles in my eyes than do it again, I’m glad I was able to give him an experience he’ll brag about for days and cherish for years — even if I did bitch a few times along the way.

Meeting Le’Veon Bell (Pittsburgh Steelers) — how happy is this kid?

With the Vince Lombardi Trophy #footballgoals

Today is my son’s actual birthday, so I’m letting him skip school again. This time, he wants to go to the movies and out for lunch. Now that’s more my speed.

Happy 11th birthday, O!

– LJDT