Summer is finally here! We've put the schoolbooks away. We've cleaned the cobwebs out of the corners. We completed the summer/winter clothing swap. I don't know about you, but for me, summer just couldn't come quickly enough!
For the Scheibner's summer means a steady repetition of the same old, same old. We always get summer haircuts. We always eat outside. We always watch the Red Sox. We always make strawberry jam. We always eat hot homemade bread and that homemade jam. We always go to the zoo. I always get sunburned while everyone else turns a lovely shade of golden tan.
Sometimes, I find myself wishing we could eliminate some of our "Always" moments, (especially that whole sunburnt thing) but I never do. Why? Because the repetition of those consistent summer routines provides great anticipation, security, and joy for my kids. Don't get me wrong, they love trying new things, however, it's the "But we always…" moments that provide our greatest and fondest family memories.
What are the "Always" routines in your family? Take some time to consider that question. Are there certain activities, foods, or relationships that just say, "Family" to your kids. For example, each summer for the past 20 years, we have traveled to Bethany Beach, DE. Besides providing lots of repeated memories, those visits to the beach each year have started some great relationships. As we visit the same church each summer, my kids have built friendships and learned to love and respect our "vacation Pastor". One son, in particular, eagerly awaits a new supply of cheesy jokes, provided by the pastor each summer.
Don't overlook the importance of building pool, team, or camp relationships. Some of my kids closest friends are kids they see each summer at camp. Communicating via letter or email throughout the year has kept those friendships fresh and rewarding.
Sometimes, I want to be too creative. I spend untold time and energy trying to come up with new and exciting ways to spend our summer days. I waste precious time and money trying to one-up our already established routines.
Sometimes, I just try too hard.
My kids are happiest when they consistently return to their much anticipated summer rituals. Things that I consider too childish, are for them, secure and happy ongoing memories. When I bring my adultish tendency to want to be "cool" to their repeated rituals, I run the risk of marring their memories and robbing them of their joy.
Want to make sure that you don't miss any of those important summer memory-builders? Just ask your kids what delights their hearts each summer. As they bubble over with summertime rituals, mentally plan when and how you'll bring those memories to life this summer. One of the nice things about repeated rituals is the fact that since you've, "Been there, done that" before, you can easily pull of a repeat performance!
Have fun, relax, and take lots of pictures! You'll want that photographic evidence to bring out 10 years from now, when all your kids are home and sharing their stories of "Remember when we always…."