Saturday, June 23, 2012

Anticipation

A few years back (2008) Chris Arnall created a mathematical formula "proving" that June 20th holds the trophy for being the happiest day of the year.  In fact, here is a quippit from the article that was ran in The Telegraph.

"Apparently the feeling of optimism caused by the combination of lighter evenings, the prospect of holidays and memories of childhood summers is at its peak on June 20.
According to the research this has been worked out using the equation O + (N xS) + Cpm/T + He.
O stands for being outdoors and outdoor activity, N is connection with nature, which is in full bloom now, S is socialisation with neighbours and friends, Cpm stands for childhood positive memories, T is the mean temperature which is now usually warm, and He is holiday expected." - Rebecca Smith 

I chuckled when I read that.  See, I don't think he took into account personal experience for this equation.  Sure, it is just for fun and is in no way scientifically valid, but hey, let's run with it. I have to say that the week that contains June 24th is the worst week of the year. The reason, anticipation. 

Each year, I get the joy of knowing I will celebrate another birthday (Lord willing) and each year I tell myself that I am not going to get excited, or anxious, for something special.  However, each year I let myself down.  Why? Because each year I secretly think it will be a better year and I will have the pleasure of being surprised.  Surprised, not so much with a party or a mountain of gifts, I am after all no longer a child, but with the joy of having the day be special.  It isn't, really.  It is just another day; it means no more than any other.  It's rather depressing, really.  Perhaps that is why I spend the week leading up to it fully depressed.  Perhaps my expectations are too high.  Yeah, that must be it.

So, as I sit here thinking about all the things that won't happen for my "special" day this year I tap away at the one thing that does make my heart a bit happier.  I can't change what it is.  I mean, only death will prevent the day from coming.  Well, at least for me.  So what to do?  I think I will just take the kiddos and make the day special for them.  After all, birthdays really are for kids.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Power of a Daycation

It's that time of year when many people are planning trips here, there, and everywhere.  That time when the culmination of paid time off is spent visiting places one wouldn't ordinarily go.  Typically my family does the same thing.  Afterall, isn't that the idea behind a vacation? 

However, this year we talked it out and decided, "why limit ourselves?"  I know that isn't an easy thing for everyone, and we are rather fortunate due to being so close to a lot of lakes as well as a state park.  So, this year we chose to purchase the annual entry pass to said state park (a 30 minute drive up the interstate) and make it a summer of daycations. 

To kick off this choice, we packed the van up with a cooler of goodies, our beach stuff, a change of clothes for everyone (as a precaution), and headed north.  Thanks to some unbeknownst road construction the drive took a bit longer than it should, but for the most part it was a short, sweet, trip. 

We spent a few hours playing at the beach, swimming and building sandcastles that would inevitably crumble once dried out.  Even though there were hundreds of others also enjoying the weather and the lake's cool waves, the day was perfect.  There is an understood language during summer, one that doesn't need an interpreter.  It is the language of relaxation, kicking back, looking terrible in a swimsuit (or good if you are lucky enough) and not really caring, and simply playing.  You can do those things as an adult, playing that is, having children just multiplies the joy.  After the beach we had a cookout then took a small hike through the woods.  By that time my precious children had assumed their cantankerous super powers and shared their total disdain for all things physical.  Basically, they were exhausted.  Which means, it was definetly a GREAT day!

Audrey running to the lake.
Lilly and Kelly building their sandcastle.
Mr. Man with Lilly and Audrey building another castle.

Mr. Man and I checked out the campgrounds to see the new spot we picked out this year (since our normal one was already reserved) and it looks like we made a good choice.  We can't wait for our actual "vacation." The DNR tore down a lot of the trees because of the Emerald Ash Borer, so the campgrounds don't look like they used to, but with the new trees that were planted and all the other general fixes the grounds look really nice.  Perhaps next year we will look into buying a camper, who can say?

In the end, sure, we all got a little toasty even with our SPF 45, but we made memories and can't wait for the next day we are all free to enjoy another daycation.

Monday, June 4, 2012

School's Out

This time of year used to be something that I longed for.  Summers spent playing with my friends, swimming at the lake for hours, chasing fireflies, and staying out late (sometimes too late).  Now, it just isn't the same.  The freedoms that I had as a kid are no longer there.  Sure, I can go "play" with my friends, but they too have responsibilities and families to take care of.  I could go swimming, chasing fireflies, and stay out late, but all those things loose their appeal when you know the alarm clock is still going to go off at 4:45 in the morning. 

Today was the last day of school for my oldest two children.  My middle daughter survived second grade and has received her pass into third.  My oldest, well, she has graced the halls of elementary school for the last time; she is now officially a middle schooler.  She has already started the summer out with a bang, a sleep over at a friend's house!  I took the other two to the library to pick out books for the summer reading program. (Aren't they the lucky ones?!) 

Rewind the clock a few years to summer of 1989.  That was the year that I finished 5th grade and entered middle school.  I can remember pieces of it well.  Let's see, we had the 1988 mock classroom elections, I was one of the only students who "voted" democrat.  Seems Dukakis wasn't popular with the 5th grade populace at my school, or rather I should say with the students' parents.  Not to worry, I soon learned the errors of listening to my parent's political points of view and have gladly voted ever since I was old enough, but I digress.  I can also remember that was the year the girls and boys went their separate ways to learn about "health".  Funny, after that year we all never looked at each other the same.  I mean, we were different and sadly the naivete of youth was removed from us.  That was also the year I had my first male teacher.  I don't remember him much, just that my class switched with his for social studies, I guess the thought was to prep us for the next school year.  Yeah, that was an epic fail.

Fast forward to the summer where I can only guess the majority of my time was spent at the beach, seeing as how we lived at a lake during that time.  I don't remember the first day of 6th grade, really.  I remember my first period teacher, Mr. McDermid (sp).  I think I had social studies in that class, I can't say now, but I know that in that class I met my best friend, Sarah.  We have been best friends ever since.  Oh, don't get me wrong we've had our moments, but she is still the one who knows me more than anyone else, and she loves me none-the-less, and I her.  

I guess that year didn't leave much of an impression on me.  I can't recall much of it.  Pretty much all of middle school was a blur, as I am sure it is for most of the American population.  It represents those years where your body grows at awkward intervals and you are either blessed with well timed spurts, or recognized horribly for the ill-timed ones.  Middle school marks the years where some experience their first "boyfriend", hand holding in the halls, passing notes in class and between periods, and the development of personal style.  Many of the aforementioned I remember, pretty much just the note passing!  Sarah and I would send each other notes that were forever and a day long.  I pity the person who found the box I stored all that stuff in and lost so many years ago.

So, here I sit, excited that my baby girl gets to experience all these firsts in the coming years, and sad that she has arrived at this time.  I can remember bringing her home and snuggling her closely and thinking I could never, ever let her go.  Alas, time has a way of escaping us all and the years just fly away.  I can't promise her rainbows and roses, but I can promise her love and guidance.  These are the years that will form her more than she knows and I am so scared I won't help her enough and that her little heart will be hurt more than once by the viciousness of adolescence.

However, through it all, there will be one truth that remains.  I am her mom and she is my little girl.  I pray that I don't mess this thing up, but know that perfection lies in Christ alone.  So, just a warning dear readers, this blog may get emotional at times and downright mean at others, but hey, its just growing pains, right?!