All Booked Up

With the hectic school season over, it’s time to relax and enjoy the good weather. Nothing beats hot days, picnics at the beach, and sun-warmed skin. The stove and oven gather dust since most meals are cooked on the barbecue. Dinners are spent on the patio, catching up with friends while the kids spray each other with the garden hose. At least, that’s what I imagine it’s like….. everyone’s so busy, no one has time to visit each other!

“Sorry,” my friend Allison said on the phone, “we’re camping this weekend. And next weekend we’re visiting my parents, and the week after that we’re scaling Mount Kilimanjaro.” I doubted that — who wants to visit their parents? Thinking ahead, I asked if she was busy on August 20th, which was weeks away. “I’ve got TWO things that day. I’m getting Botox, then I’m teaching yoga to stressed out kindergartners. Playgrounds are ruthless these days.” If she was brushing me off, at least she was being creative!

Summers are for long, languid days and spur-of-the-moment activities. Remember that last minute bonfire and the extra crispy marshmallows? Or the impromptu road-trip where we saw a moose chasing a bear? None of those would’ve happened if we’d had strict schedules. Molly still mentions the day we ran through the spray park in our clothes! (I was dressed in black and felt like I was on fire).

One of my favorite childhood memories involves an unplanned trip. I was four and my sister was six, and our parents bundled us into the station wagon at the end of a sultry day. We went to a sunny playground, and something about that day was magical. I can still feel my mother’s hand in mine, and the warm wooden seats of the picnic table. There was a little snack stand, and we ate spicy potato wedges covered in ketchup. Nothing about that trip was planned, but it shines like a jewel in my mind.

Let’s give up fully booked days and embrace spontaneity. Embrace late nights, bare feet, and ice-cream for dinner. Stroll into fun times with an open mind, and, if you have kids, an open wallet. I hope the next time I see Allison she’s happy with her hobbies and her schedule. But knowing her, it won’t be anytime soon: she’s booked solid for the next two years!