on the magic of summer (or: let’s all just chill out a little, mkay?)

So, we’re going to Disney World.  Not in the immediate future, mind you- no, we’re talking months down the road.  But apparently planning a Disney trip is a LEGIT THING these days, people.  When I was a kid, I’m certain we just rolled up to the theme parks without one iota of planning, aside from which color fanny pack best coordinated with our poofy bangs and neon hair scrunchies.

I could post photographic evidence of where I landed with these decisions, but I have a sense of self-dignity.  And 80’s bangs + fanny packs transcend all of that.

Anyway, Disney trip.  I’m planning.  For an October trip.  And while I may sound like I’m complaining, I’m really not because THIS IS WHAT I WAS MADE FOR.  I can research and plan and spreadsheet like it’s going out of style.  Some people may call me a control freak…. and, okay, so maybe they’re right.

But in all of my dutiful planning, I have stumbled across a recurrent theme that I would like to discuss for a tiny bit.  It’s this thing that Disney People like to call “extra magic.”  Allow me to explain.  Apparently, spending All Of The Dollars on a trip to the HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH isn’t quiiite sufficient.  And so, these adorable parents plan extra daily gifts and surprises and treats for their children to unwrap.  At Disney World.  Magic upon magic upon magic.

Americans, y’all.  We crack me up.

So, I was thinking about this and getting a good chuckle over the whole notion when it occurred to me: CRAP.  This is exactly what we’ve done to summer break!  Our kids are handed a glorious three month vacay, and we 21st century parents start spinning our darling little wheels trying to finagle the most perfect, magical summer ever.

We pump up expectations and raise the bar sky high.  We keep trying to generate magic upon magic.  But you know what I have discovered over time?  You know what happens when you combine sky high expectations with long, hot, endless summer days?

Exhaustion.

Unmet expectations.

Whining.  Oh my gosh, the whining.

So it goes in the Allison house at least.  But maybe we’re just an anomaly.

But in the event that we’re not….  in the event that you, too, feel overwhelmed with the prospect of manufacturing and orchestrating the most magical, memory-filled, entertaining summer ever… if you happen to be the type that stresses over devising Magical Summer Bucket Lists… allow me to save you some stress and Pinteresting.  Go ahead and draw nigh my friends.  This is important.  Y’all ready?

SUMMER IS ALREADY MAGICAL.

You know what summer has going for it?

Everything.

No school.  Fireflies.  Pool days.  Water balloons.  Popsicles.  Netflix marathons.  Marsh-like backyards from hours of running through sprinklers.  Neighborhood kid Nerf gun wars.

Do you know how difficult these things are to execute?  Not.  Zero difficulty.  They just happen naturally.  BECAUSE SUMMER IS MAGICAL.

Parents.  Listen.  If elaborate, sparkly “Summer Bucket List” posters and plans are smack dab in your wheelhouse, then that is SO AWESOME.  Go big, and have fun.  This is your moment to shine, so get at it.  I am so proud of you.

But if that’s not you… if the thought of adding “extra magic” to your kids’ already magical summer makes you twitch, then here’s my official permission to pull back.  For goodness sake, let your kids be bored out of their minds from time to time.  Because do you know what’s birthed out of utter summer boredom?  MAGIC.  (Also, sometimes mess and whining and a variety of other shenanigans.  But I am focusing on creativity! brilliance! magic! here, mkay?)

Let’s stop raising the bar so impossibly high.  Let’s stop making life so dang exhausting for ourselves.  Let’s be content to sit our behinds in a lounge chair by the pool or in our backyards with our neighbors.  Let’s feed our kids an insane amount of cheap Red Dye #40 laden popsicles and lock their sticky bodies outside ’till the sun goes down.

Let’s give our kids the gift of free, unadulterated, unchoreographed time.  Time to sit and think and be.  To wonder and to wander.  To fight and work it out.  To be hopelessly, tearfully bored and then to push through.  Or maybe not.  Maybe they’ll stay bored.  And they’ll realize that obladi oblada LIFE JUST GOES ON.

I don’t know, y’all.  I kind of wonder if we’re raising a generation of kids who are perpetually on the hunt for “extra magic” while the real magic is right in front of their eyeballs.

I’ve seen all of the gut-wrenching, eye-opening posts drawing our attention to the whole “eighteen summers” thing- to the reality that we, as parents, are given a finite span of time before they leave the nest.  Admonishing us to make it count!  Live it up!  And I totally get it; I’m all about experiences and memories and living it up.

But I don’t know.  Maybe we all just need to chill out a little.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: go big or go home or go however your family best goes.  But if you find yourself sprawled out on your front yard doing ordinary things on the most ordinary of days, and you hear your kid proclaim this to be the “best. summer. ever.”…. well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

No extra magic required.

2 Comments on on the magic of summer (or: let’s all just chill out a little, mkay?)

  1. Christina Acosta
    May 23, 2017 at 3:43 pm (3 months ago)

    Amen!!!!!! This is exactly what I’ve been thinking, it’s all too much. Cheers to lots of time chilling, connecting and enjoying life. Happy Summer Catherine.

    • Catherine
      May 23, 2017 at 4:48 pm (3 months ago)

      Happy summer to you too, Christina!!