Schedules can wait -- plenty of time for that come September


It's Friday night and I'm exhausted.

I'm feeling beat from a long work week and I'm ready to just sit and chill. A glass of Rosé would be nice, too. 

My son has other ideas. For him it's Friday night, and that means it's the weekend and we should be out somewhere having a good time. 

I just want to close my eyes and relax. 

"Let's go for a night swim," he says. 

I look at him and smile. I don't want to do anything. But then I remember, there are only a few more Friday nights we can run to the pool and swim as the sun sets. Soon it will be September, the pool will be closed, and our weekends will become more scheduled. 

Our weekdays, too.  

The middle of August feels like a Wednesday during vacation. You know, the day you realize your vacation is half over and you want time to stop, but instead it seems to speed up. We put on our swimsuits, grab our towels and head to the pool. The place where we swim is just a short drive from home. When we get there, a few other families have the same idea. Everyone trying to savor the last gasp of summer. Even if silently parents are planning their back to school shopping trip to Target for Saturday morning. No one wants to speak about that out loud. 

My son jumps in the water and quickly catches up with a couple friends from school. I watch them play "shark tag" and swim back and forth from the "cave" (the deep end of the pool) to the shallow kids' area. They are laughing and splashing.

I never get into the pool. I sit in a lounge chair and watch them play. I'm getting a chance to relax while seeing him be a kid on a late summer night. A perfect Friday night. 

We will try to get a few more night swims in before Labor Day arrives and the pool and summer closes for the season. 

We are not the parents who try to transition our child to get ready to go back to school. Maybe we should be starting to make him go to bed earlier that last week of summer. But we won't. 

Back to school means back to being scheduled and being home a lot less. 

My family loves to be home. Especially my son. Maybe it's because since he was a baby, he has had to go somewhere nearly five days a week every week. Daycare, preschool, elementary school, summer camp, he is always scheduled to be somewhere because both my husband and I work.

Even in the summer, he wakes up to an alarm most Mondays through Fridays. Then he has to come downstairs, eat breakfast, get dressed, grab his backpack and go. These are not the lazy days of summer.  

"Mommy I wish you could be a teacher," is a comment I get every spring as summer inches closer. "That way I could stay home with you in the summer."

I wish, buddy. My career does not allow for summers off. 

So instead, we're living as unscheduled as possible this summer.  We're spending Saturday afternoons at the pool, throwing the ball back and forth over and over again, eating ice cream before dinner and letting the weeds grow in the flower bed a little longer than in years past.  We're letting dust gather in the corners of the hardwood floor while we ride bikes, play soccer in the back yard and basketball in the driveway until the mosquitoes drive us inside.  We snuggle on the couch watching movies letting bedtime get later and later. 

This past week, we watched him turn our home into a Nerf battleground with makeshift walls of boxes and toys set up all over our main floor. I'm looking past the clutter and mess to see the imagination and creativity at work instead.

We still have items on our summer bucket list to check off. 

When September hits, we'll ease back into our scheduled life. We purposely choose to do only one sport in the fall, so that our weekends and weeknights are less hectic. It lets us adjust to a new school year, a new teacher and new homework demands. 

It also sets up the potential for a few unscheduled Saturday or Sunday mornings. We cherish those mornings when we can linger in our pajamas a little longer and skip the get-up-and-go of our weekdays. 

We need those mornings, especially when we head back to school. Soon the decision to go for ice cream before making dinner will not be an option. School nights will be carefully planned out to make sure dinner, homework and a little free time are all fit in before bedtime.  A much earlier bedtime. 

So that last weekend before school starts, there will be no early bedtime. There will be no schedule. There will be plenty of time for that in September.

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