Musings

From Here to Eternity

Only one month left. Only three weeks left. Can you believe there’s only one week left? Four days… Two days…ONE day…

School’s OUUUUUUTT!

And in a flash, summer begins.

Kids everywhere are whooping for joy! Desks are emptied (huh, there’s that permission slip), backpacks are being fumigated (hello, 3-month old half-eaten granola bar), school books and library books are being returned (hopefully intact) and smiles creep across small faces in a way that leaves power companies wishing they could harness the energy.

And the adults breathe a collective sigh.

We sigh for several reasons. We sigh a good sigh because it means a respite from the daily lunch making. The other night I actually considered for a moment computing how many lunches I have made since my kids started Kindergarten, but then I thought better of that move. It would be too depressing. I’ll just settle for “it’s been A LOT” and call it a day.

For some reason, the lunch making is what puts most parents over the edge and I can’t even tell you particularly why. We aren’t packing for 18 people every day, it’s just a few little mouths, but somehow it manages to be one of the most annoying duties of the entire school year. My Dante’s Hell would certainly include dreaming up and making lunches in the fire-y pits of hell for all eternity.

We also sigh because we can shelve our chauffeur’s cap for a while. Yes, there’s still a bit of that in the summer, but somehow it’s not as frenzied. Maybe simply because it’s summer and the livin’ is easy. If you don’t get to camp RIGHT at 9am, what’s going to happen?

We sigh because the homework, projects, permission slips, board meetings, budget meetings, field trips, fundraising, alarm clocks, teacher’s conferences, activities, practices, Mom-I-need-15-croissants-for-my-French-class-TODAY, recitals, lunches, lunches, lunches, ….can all go away for a brief period of time lasting roughly 75 luscious days.

75 Luscious Days. S-e-v-e-n-t-y F-i-v-e.

And to the kids, this time is seen as an eternity. They aren’t even stopping to put that number on it. Do you remember being a kid and thinking that school was out and….you just were OUT. That’s it. I seriously don’t even recall thinking that there was an end in sight to the vacation. That’s because we were on vacation for what seemed like an eternity.

Summer days stretched for miles and miles. There apparently was no sense of time when we were young. That’s all there is to it. We lived in time warp. A delicious time warp involving countless beach trips, endless ice cream cones, bike riding, adventure-after-adventure, rainy day fort-making and the best of all….flopping around doing nothing. You did not even think about school resuming (school? what’s school?) until maybe the last week of vacation when Mom said it was time for new shoes and a few notebooks. Denial in a kids’ mind, though, is a powerful thing, and so is creativity. That meteor that was careening towards earth REALLY DID have a shot of landing *KA-Pow!* right ON OUR school, therefore wiping out any hope for the start of a new school year.

And that’s it… kids have a miraculous way of living entirely and completely in the moment. They are so Zen without even knowing it that it hurts. Little Buddhas are in our midst. And that’s why 75 days turns into an eternity in their minds. Sure, they don’t pay bills. They don’t really look at calendars except to see when so-and-so’s birthday party is, they don’t have “commitments” or meetings or deadlines. That’s the glory of childhood.

Us adults could stand to be reminded about living in the moment, too. It’s never a bad thing. Summer is here. The kids haven’t gotten annoying yet (we’ll talk in August), pure excitement is in the air, the schedule is relaxing as we speak…

Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.-Henry David Thoreau

Well said, Mr. Thoreau. Well said.

I’ll have a double-scoop of mint-chocolate chip with a side of eternity, please.

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