School’s Out For Summer

You sang the Alice Cooper song when you read that title.

If you didn’t, you are singing it now.

And kids still know that song! Maybe not all kids, but a lot of them do. Even kids who don’t know who or what an Alice Cooper is are familiar with that song. It’s ingrained in the public consciousness.

“School’s Out” is one of the great anthems of our time, because everyone can relate to it. Even the kids who like school love their Summer vacations. From elementary students on up through high school and college, the sentiment rings true. Even for teachers. Maybe especially for teachers!

Working adults feel the same way, too. We remember what it was like to be free of the responsibilities and pressures of school very well, and we have held on to that feeling. That’s why we get so excited for the vacation time we have- be it a holiday, a weekend trip or full on vacation. And we still sing along with “School’s Out” every time we hear it. We may even sing it this time of year with no prompting, just as a natural instinct.

But for most of us, Summers just aren’t the same anymore. As adults we don’t get a few months off from our jobs to do whatever we want. Sure, we enjoy what little time we have, but even most of our “free time” is filled with obligations we don’t always want to do. The care free days of Summer Vacation are all but a memory.

Unless you have kids and are married to a teacher.

Yep. It’s a whole different deal around my house.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, my wife works incredibly hard at her job. Being an educator is tough work, and can be quite the emotional roller coaster as well. She needs this time to re center, take it easy for a while and to do things that are uniquely her, away from the pressures of being a teacher. Summer vacations are nowhere near a full three months anymore, but they are very much needed for reasons of overall sanity.

The kids, of course, are on Summer Break too. This is an absolute right of Kid-dom, and that is as it should be. As adults we tend to remember the carefree days of Summer, and think about our childhoods overall through a rose tinted lens where we had very little responsibilities and life was pretty sweet. No taxes, no career paths, no family to provide for, no investment portfolios or 401ks, no real worries about the state of the country/world and how it may effect our living situation. Man, kids have it so good!

Well, yes and no. Being a kid is hard. Every day you are learning facts, figures, and skills that you will be expected to draw from for the rest of your life. You are trying to figure out who you are, and how that affects your schoolwork and your social situation. You learn who your friends are, and more importantly, who they aren’t. And as you get older you begin to try to figure out the opposite sex (or the same sex), you start to understand how the world outside your door affects your own life, and oh yeah, try to have a good idea of what you want to do with that life by the time you hit eighteen. Which brings to mind another Alice Cooper song, but let’s leave that alone for now.

So don’t hear what I’m not saying. I think the people in my family deserve the break they are getting. I don’t begrudge them one bit, and I’m happy if they can enjoy it.

However (there’s always a however) it can be a little difficult on yours truly.

One way things get all turned around is through scheduling. As the Summer goes on, bedtimes get later and later, and my end of day alone time starts to get shorter. The schedules for the kids’ activities change too, and that gives us a whole new routine to learn for about 6-8 weeks, which we then have to unlearn and go back to what we were doing and I get all confused and grumpy.

There always seems to be a lot to do in Summer, and little time to do it in. There are some things we just want to do, like Amusement Parks, the Zoo and other local attractions, family hikes and cookouts, swimming, special events, and we wind up not being able to do all of them. Then I feel like I failed at Summer. Why is that? Just because Summer only lasts three months doesn’t mean that all the time has to be filled up, but I can’t help feeling like it should be. I wind up feeling guilty for sitting and relaxing too much, or for not sitting and relaxing enough.

I think that it’s because a part of me wants my Summer Vacations back. I mean, we are going on a week long vacation this Summer (in your face COVID!), and even though I work most Saturdays I do get Mondays off with the kids. I am grateful for the time I do have, but it kinda sucks that Summers aren’t what they used to be.

I still love Summer, it’s my favorite season. I love the sunshine, the long, hot days (even the really humid ones), late Summer sunsets, sudden 20 minute rain showers, outdoor concerts, and pretty much everything that makes Summer what it is. I just want it to last a little longer and to have more time to enjoy it. That’s just not how it works these days.

So anyway, the rest of the house is in vacation mode and I am not. I’m a little…well, jealous and envious both feel like the wrong words to use here, the feeling is not that extreme. I just feel sort of left out. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older. Maybe it’s because I know that the Summers with my kids in the house are numbered. Maybe it’s because there’s a big part of me that never grew up. Maybe it’s all of those things.

Well, the fact of the matter is that school is out, and Summer is upon us. Though I’m feeling a bit sentimental, introspective, and melancholy about it right now, it is still my favorite. And I will still enjoy it to the full. I mean, I’m not going to go full on Clark Griswold or anything, but I hope to have a great Summer.

And I hope you do too.

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