boys of summer

boys will be boys
boys will be boys
photo 3 (2)
cousin love
photo 2 (2)
hiking the woods of Maine
photo 1 (2)
all my favorite boys

School starts today, and I find myself wondering where the summer has gone. Unlike years past, when we limp through August, waiting for that magical day when the kids get back to routine, this summer flew by fast. Jack and Colin have dubbed it “best summer ever” in no small part due to an exciting camp schedule. They kicked off with wilderness survivor camp (not zombie survival camp, as the kids have been billing it) which segued into their first experience with sleep away camp. Art camp was followed by a woefully mis-advertised culinary camp supplemented with at-home cooking lessons, and a visit from Aunt Meghann fed into ten days (without me) in Maine with their cousins. A few days at the Jersey Shore capped off vacation. Throughout, pool visits abounded; sleepovers were plentiful. The kids end the summer with golden tans (despite my best SPF efforts) and blonde hair, more independent and confident in their growing bodies.

I’m not usually a fan of summer. I hate the heat and humidity, especially when I’m expected to wear professional attire and still look presentable (read: not melted). But this year was different. My work load was light, meaning I could get away with wearing denim cut offs and a t-shirt as I sat in front of the computer and worked on novel number two. The weather was tolerable; I didn’t even fix my AC, broken since the end of last summer, until after the Fourth of July. And while I long for the beauty of fall (and tall boots, scarves, cashmere) for once I’m not cursing DC in August.

Of course, that could all change with an extended heat wave.

summer vacation

a scene from summer vacation

What did you do (or not do) on your summer vacation? I (in case you hadn’t noticed) barely blogged. I had assumed summer nights would be blissfully free to commit my thoughts to electronic paper, but at the end of most days, I could barely muster the energy to send a text let alone write a post.

At the end of the school year in June, I was ready to collapse under the weight of the kids’ collective schedules, and I couldn’t wait until the pressures of the school year were gone and vacation would begin. But summer vacations of today are not the summer vacations of my youth. First of all, I still have to work. As Jack puts it, “it isn’t fair, Mommy, that you don’t get to take the summer off too.” Second of all, as I remembered by the third day of summer camp, preparing kids for camp is harder than preparing kids for school.

It seems like a small thing, but you have to remember to pack a bathing suit and towel. Every day. Even though the kids are given designated swim days, camp advises sending their gear each day just in case they get an extra window to swim. And swimming means applying vats of sunscreen to your kids each morning before they head out the door. While I make a lunch for my kids most days when they go to school, it’s nice to know you have a back up option (even if they mostly detest school lunch) on a morning when you overslept and/or forgot to buy peanut butter and/or the bread miraculously went green overnight. At camp, there is no such luxury. You need to pack a lunch everyday or your kid doesn’t eat. And lunches need to be bigger, complete with snacks and extra drinks for hot code orange and red days. Exhausting.

Even the kids asked, “when do we get a summer where we can take a break from school and camp?”

That’s a good question. When I was Jack’s age, I was already watching my brother Nathan in the summers. We’d walk to the neighborhood pool in the morning, have our swim lessons, come home for lunch, then walk back to the pool to swim the remainder of the day. Implementing a similar routine with Jack and Colin would probably result in someone turning me in to social services.

That isn’t to say the boys and I didn’t get any breaks this summer. A ten-day tour of New England to visit with close friends and family got us out of town and gave us a breather from our usual grind. Five days last week in Chicago and Michigan gave me a needed respite from work, camp, mommy duties and stifling DC humidity. But school starts next week, which means fall is around the corner and with it (aside from tall boots, cashmere sweaters, scarves and all the other goodies I am dreaming of) comes soccer season.

Is it winter break yet?