Life Out Loud: Make time for fun in last days of summer

I don’t want to panic anyone but we are almost out of summer. Soon some perky television meteorologist will inform us with malicious glee that the end has come. One moment you’re slathering on sunscreen, the next you are pulling on mittens and wondering if the snow shovel ever recovered after you ran it over last year.

We’re running on fumes, my friends. In one of my many scrapbooks are a series of photographs of my children, much younger, posing on the lawn, splashing in the hose and holding popsicles aloft for the recording of posterity by my ever-present camera.

On the page I made a note: “This is the only summer you will ever be 5 and 7. I want to remember this, always.” And I do. It’s the years since that give me pause. I blinked and missed them as they sped by on a meteoric calendar run.

I know we had fun but really, what did we DO? Did we simply putter around the house for three months, with only brief forays to the grocery store before we went back-to-school shopping? That, my friends, is not a celebration of summer as it so richly deserves. Do I really want our summer memories to revolve around a trip to Target?

Plan

With that in mind I think it pays to get a bit more specific about summer’s fun. You want to get the most out of those lazy, hazy, carefree days of summer? You can’t rely on spontaneity. You have to schedule those good times.

Like most busy people we spend a lot of time saying that we’ll go ahead and have fun “when we have the time.” Well friends, I’m here to tell you that we really never do. What we all have are deadlines, commitments and crab grass. There are bills to pay and meals to make and somehow between the groceries and the weeding and the laundry, you wake up and your entire summer — if not your life — is gone.

With that in mind I started scheduling fun. I don’t wait for Friday afternoon to say “hey what do you want to do tonight?” Too often the answer is “Nothing.” or “I don’t know.” Vowing to stop this loss of good old summer time, I took my calendar and began entering “Summer Fun.”

Simple

All it took was a few minutes of pre-planning and now we know that two weekends will be spent camping. That Friday we are going to take in a double-feature at the drive-in. That a week from Tuesday we will have friends over to swim. That two weeks past that we are going to spend the day at a park.

Nothing monumental or terribly expensive, just moments and memories diligently scheduled in. Making plans to have fun doesn’t have to involve anything more than time. Set aside time to visit a local park, your friends and family, your local library. Yes, library. The library is, to us, a cool oasis of awesome free stuff. Music, movies, books and more — all free to be had. We’ve enjoyed many movie nights this summer courtesy of our local library.

Some days our “summer fun” is as simple as a .99 cent “slushee” from the local gas station or a bucket of chalk from the dollar store. It’s not about spending money so much as setting aside the time, and taking the trouble, to make enjoying these special perks of summer a priority.

Chill

One moment of “Summer Fun” our daughter already recalls fondly was as simple as making note of National Ice Cream day on the calendar and making the appropriate, nay required, road trip to a local ice cream shop to celebrate.

Please tell me you didn’t allow National Ice Cream day to go unheralded? If so, never fear. You can still throw a belated celebration. If you can’t find the time or the extra money to hit the road in search of ice cream excellence, hit the grocery store for some frugal fun. Grab a container of your favorite flavor and the toppings of your choice and host a sundae bar at home.

If that’s too much, go for vanilla and root beer and enjoy some frosty cold root beer floats. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and when it comes to Ice Cream Day it’s never too late to celebrate.

You have roughly four more weeks of summer (give or take). Embrace them. Enjoy them. Grab your calendar and pencil in some memories to warm you all winter long. Isn’t your summer, and the fun you’ll have, at least as important as a dental appointment?

(Kymberly Foster Seabolt fervently believes that every day is Ice Cream Day. She welcomes double scoops and comments c/o lifeoutloud@comcast.net; P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460; or www.KymberlyFosterSeabolt.com.)

About the Author

Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless. More Stories by Kymberly Foster Seabolt

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