In the 15 days since my last post the kids hit their last baseball of the season, they’ve started swim team, and school has officially let out for the summer. Temperatures in the national capital region have hit 90 degrees and we’ve been spending our evenings at the neighborhood pool. So despite it being a few days away from summer solstice, I’m officially declaring it summer for Team Huffman.
Summer has been an interesting season in our household for awhile because we’ve moved each summer for the past three years. The little guy was four and baby girl wasn’t even walking the last time we had a summer that didn’t involve packing up our worldly possessions and schlepping them halfway across the country. Not that we didn’t have fun – we always use the transition time that accompanies a PCS (permanent change of station) to travel, visit family, and make the most of our uninterrupted time together. But for as much as I love experiencing new places and meeting new people, it can be quite exhausting to essentially start our lives over each fall. And there isn’t always the guarantee that I’ll bloom where the Army plants us. So the fact that we currently have an uninterrupted summer ahead of us seems downright exhilarating.
So what are our plans for the summer? Well – the kids and I will be on our own a lot this summer but Clay will be home enough that we’ll be able to squeeze in a few family-of-four adventures along the way. We have our trip across the pond in a few weeks and I’m sure we will squeeze in a trip to the North Carolina coast and Lake Lanier, Georgia to visit family. We will take advantage of Blue Star Museums in the area and we will explore Washington DC beyond the standard tourist-fare. We’ll go hiking in the Shenandoah Valley and kayak on the Potomac River. And we will eat lots of Maryland Blue Crab and s’mores.
That being said – these kids will also be bored. Their days will not be scheduled with camps, lessons, or schoolwork. They will harness their boredom and transform it into independent creative play. They will draw. They will paint. They will make a mess. And they will clean up after themselves. I will not comb Pinterest for activities to keep them occupied day in and day out. They will have time to think. Time to plan their own day. They will play outside unsupervised. They will build forts. They will fight. They will be sent to their rooms. They will read. They will be bored at times. And they will have a fantastic summer because of it. Research has shown that boredom can lead to happier and more creative kids with superior problem solving skills. So while we will have adventures and experience plenty of new things, the kids will also have a lot of downtime. When they’re able to use their own creativity and participate in unstructured play, they learn to keep themselves entertained – which is, quite frankly, absolutely essential for a happy and successful life.
So hello summer 2018. Hello adventure. And hello boredom.