Mom, I miss the lake

I do too sweetie.  I do too.

I spent some time last night talking with a woman describing her children’s annual summer treks to a friend’s lake house; over decades:

“The kids spent all day building some project, canoeing, fishing, or playing. Then they would all show up at noon to eat; and we had so much food set out.  Then the kids would devour everything, so fast, and then they’d disappear until dinner time.  Then they’d eat again, and disappear, and we would have to call them in at bedtime, because they didn’t want to come back inside.  My kids think that lake is heaven.”

She didn’t say it, but I know that the kids were barefoot all day, and they were asleep within minutes of their head hitting their pillow. But it takes forever to get them back inside to their beds, because sunset comes so late up north in the summer. It wasn’t her words so much, as it was that far-off look in her eyes that could see the trees, and that calming effect that water has on the heartbeat.

As I listened, I wondered if my kids will feel that way about our place.  I think about their overloaded homework schedule, the pressure of learning to read… yesterday is TOO LATE, no child left behind, the quest to get the latest and greatest Wii game, I-pod, Star Wars toys;  I just can’t wait for school to close its doors so I can get my kids out of this madness.  I’m not turning in the applications to the summer camps they traditional go to; realizing now that there just isn’t as much time in a summer to do nothing as I once thought. I think about our governor trying to eliminate summer vacations, and how much less time our kids will have to be bored and stare at cloud formations and dragonflies. If summer vacations are eliminated, this will be the worst time to be a kid.

Pearl S. Buck said, “If our American way of life fails the child, it fails us all.”

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6 comments on “Mom, I miss the lake
  1. We used to go to the beach – first for weekends and then, as we started working down there, staying for the whole summer. I still remember the feeling of utter relaxation of being to read what you wanted and seeing friends and family that we only saw down there and knowing we’d be in the ocean every day – it was pure bliss! Now, being an adult and responsible and all, I can only do it for weekends or sporadic weeks at a time but the feeling remains. The minute we cross the causeway and as the salt air moves through the open windows, my shoulders start to relax a bit and by the end of the weekend, I’m ready to go back to work. To even think of taking away summer vacation is cruel!

  2. Sometimes I think we’re scared in this country to allow do-nothing time. Like, what might happen if we don’t fill in every minute with entertainment and activity? Ooh scary!

    I think year-round schools are pretty horrible. I think it’s not just tradition — summer is truly a time to be outside, and I think we (children especially) need time to just breathe and play.

  3. This is the blogger formerly known as Yogamum, just letting some of my favorite blogger pals know that I am blogging over at a new place (see link above)!

  4. I absolutely hate the idea of no summer break. My mother-in-law, a former teacher, thinks it is wonderful. As a child we never really had any one place to go, but the freedom of time to stay with both sets of grandparents, my great grandmother, my aunts and uncles- memories of happy times in the sun. We lived in the country in the house my grandmother grew up in and I remember taking a blanket out on the roof to lie in the sun and read. I just cannot imagine the kids not having a time of respite. Stealing from childhood is what I call it…

  5. One reason that we home schooled our kids for many years was that we wanted them to have this precious time to explore, read at a relaxed pace, and simply think, dream and pretend. We want kids to LOVE to learn and to be curious about life. We don’t want to keep them busy doing paperwork every single minute.

    I appreciated this post, Susie.

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