How sad it is to type those words. Well not so sad for someone who’s been running camp mommy for around seven years. But still a little sad.
For my family, summer is a revolution of sorts. We rid ourselves of the shackles of seven am wakeup times, a drill sergeant routine, having to be home in time for the homework bootcamp, followed by another military like schedule of dinner, bath, and lights out. It’s exhausting for all of us.
So we relax. I have a much looser schedule of wake up whenever we want, free play, breakfast, homework, davening, learning about something fun and projects, more free play, cleaning up, TV and nap time, bath and lunch time, then hopefully heading out for something fun like a library program, park, etc. Some days I need to work more. Some I need to clean more. And some we go on big trips to a museum or something.
So this works well for a week or two. Then my children want to start freeing themselves from some more shackles like cleaning up, brushing teeth, leaving the house, etc. Here’s where the problems begin. I like to keep the house clean and for it not to be a solo effort. I also like to leave the house almost every day. Ironically I find I would have an easier time getting to these children’s programs without children. Defeats the point though, doesn’t it?
This is when I’m ready for school to begin. I get to trade my fights about getting out of the house on time for…fights about getting to the bus on time. Oh it never ends does it! Except it does and I try to remind myself of all those pithy Facebook quotes about how children are more important than a clean floor. When those don’t work—oh those self righteous pieces of advice are so annoying aren’t they?—I remind myself of that incredibly inspiring story of Beruriah.
I hope I get the facts right. Feel free to post comments with corrections if I don’t. [We don’t have editors in the blogosphere]. But here’s a short recap:
Beruriah is known for being an amazingly intelligent woman from the Talmudic era. She was married to the great sage Rabbi Meir. One of their children was sick and died while her husband was at shul for Minchah on Shabbos. After he returned, with incredible restraint, she waited until after Havdalah and asked this. “I borrowed something valuable from someone and they came to claim it back. Do I need to give it back?” Rabbi Meir answered, “Of course.” She proceeded to tell him what happened to their son. Gosh, that story gets me every time, even as I’m typing this. Maybe that should be all of our hachlatahs for the new year—to cherish, enjoy, and be grateful for all of the blessings in our life, especially the ones who spill their juice over the just cleaned kitchen floor.
Truth be told, this summer included some amazing experiences at Intrepid Space Fest, Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, many children’s museums, etc. It also included wonderful times at the park and beach. But most of the time was spent at home, hopefully appreciating my children’s incredible sense of imagination and the love they have for each other as evidenced by their almost non-stop playing together. I’m sad that in some ways school robs them of some of that free reign. I know it’s necessary to conform to function in society but do they really need to do it so young? At least we have our summers of freedom.