My Kids’ Summer vs. My ‘80s Summer

Image Source: Kate Casey
Image Source: Kate Casey

“My Kids’ Summer vs. My ‘80s Summer” originally appeared on Love and Knuckles under the title, “Dear Kids: I Hope You Enjoy Your Summer Vacation,” and was reprinted with permission.

Dear Kids,

Please stuff this into your Turns Out Mom Was a Great Mother After All folder:

I’d like to talk to you about summer, the two-and-a-half months in the middle of the year when education reformers claim you need to decompress from months of doing crafts, learning to read and understand math, and playing kickball on the playground. It’s what I like to refer to as the What Am I Supposed To Do With These Kids?! portion of your childhood.

At your age, I was told to just go outside and play because it was summer. Obviously things have changed since then, because of global warming and heightened awareness about kidnapping and all that. I want you to have a better life.

While you spent your last few weeks of school wrapping up projects and celebrating with year-end parties, your old lady was stressing about how to make sure you were about to spend the next 10 weeks mentally and physically stimulated. I know that in order to get you early acceptance into Stanford University or in an Olympic training camp you need every moment of your day to be jam-packed with activities. It is my guess studies may have at some point proven that children who get to experience various extra curricular activities during summer vacation could possibly have a reduced chance of still living at home at age 28.

It is for this reason that I have made certain you spent this summer well-occupied, doing wide range of fun activities.

Activities including, but not limited to:

  1. Attending day camps focused on arithmetic, oceanography, Spanish, and mixed media arts.
  2. Swim team
  3. Preschool camp with Broadway themed weeks
  4. Martial arts classes
  5. Rock climbing
  6. Ukulele classes
  7. Trips to museums, water parks, and environmental centers with your cousin visiting from New Jersey
  8. Regular trips to Yogurtland

And while I’ve heard many (many) complaints this summer that all this “activity” may not have given you enough time to lounge on an inflated pool toy in the backyard or play superhero in the privacy of your bedroom, please understand that my childhood summers were spent doing a steady rotation of the following:

  1. Watching General Hospital in my living room with your Aunt.
  2. Rifling through your grandmother’s paperwork while she was out running errands.
  3. Walking laps around the perimeter of my backyard.
  4. Rearranging Tupperware in the kitchen cabinets.
  5. Cleaning the above ground pool covered in leaves.
  6. Waiting for the mailman to deliver catalogs no one actually ordered from.
  7. Picking blackberries off of the neighbor’s bushes while they were at work.
  8. Singing Debbie Gibson’s greatest hits while staring a ceiling.

My point is, you guys have had a pretty sweet time this summer — filled with way more opportunities than I ever had. So please, soak up these last few days while you can. And remember: Have fun.

Love you,


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