Friday 26 August 2016

Endless summers

The trouble with looking back to my summer holidays as a child is that I think I've a very selective memory. The cliches of endless summers with days of sunshine feature heavily.
Sitting and reflecting I can also remember a summer of refusing to go out and watching endless TV everyday. I can also remember a different summer where I played out for days on end, called on friends and had adventures.
I don't remember being naughty, or irritating or a pain.
To be honest I can't remember much detail of the long summer weeks.

Each year I watch twitter and Facebook and see the summer unfold across the lives of many families, the good the bad and the interesting. I see a lot of parents relieved to lose the stress of school and I see a lot of parents struggle to hold their children safe with the lack of routine.
I feel that we hold those two positions in tension.

As parents the ebb and flow of our summers has varied.
These days we see the summer in terms of endurance, one day at a time counting weeks. At least we do for some of our children.  The lack of routine picks at the seams of our version of normal and we start to fray by this point of the holidays. There's no bottomless pit of money to provide flagpole events every day, negotiations are protracted and what suits one invariably does not suit another. Each  day brings new challenges. Then nerves of a new school or teacher starts to add that special ingredient into the dynamic.

The Good MrsC bears the brunt.

We've not reached the fever pitch of the 2014 'endless summer' that led to the legendary 'year long grounding incident' and that precipitated the seeds of our plan to move house. Still, it's not easy and by now we're ready for the return and all that brings. A different sort of challenge.

I wonder what my children make of their summers, what they'll recall? Do they see the challenge? the tensions and conflict? Will they hark back to endless summers with selective recall, I'm sure we won't.


  1. Yes. I remember a lot of playing alone in my room/in the garden (I'm an only child), endless weeks of early-morning swimming lessons, and library trips with armfuls of books. Trying to recreate that for our two is not as straightforward as I'd imagined! Quiet? Alone in their rooms? Not a chance! :) Great post.

  2. I have so many happy memories of camping, swimming, playing out on my bike, library trips etc. They were probably a few days of the 6 weeks, I just don't remember the days I drove my mum mad!