In summers past, I was a planner. I had my son signed up for multiple camps before the first spring flowers had bloomed. I had each week meticulously planned. I had camps. I had vacations. Heck, I even planned spontaneous park days. (Yeah, that's more difficult to do than you would think.)
But after a while all that planning got boring. Not to mention expensive.
So several years ago, I gave up on my action-filled, never-a-dull-moment summers. Oh sure, there were a few camps, a couple of beach days and some trips to Grandma's house, but for the most part my son spent his summers outside learning important stuff like how to doorbell ditch the neighbors when you live in a 64 home development and everyone knows it's you ringing the dang doorbell over and over. (Before you ask, yes, I did put a stop to that right away).
He also perfected his hoops and learned to dunk. He became an expert in Call of Duty. He swam at other people's homes because I am a mean mother and refuse to have a pool. He held outdoor movie nights at our house with marshmallows for roasting and ice-cold Coke for sipping. (In my opinion, this totally makes up for the lack of pool - look, who wouldn't want a movie theater under the stars?)
But all of that started to change a few years ago. As my son got older, the teenagers started separating from the younger kids and even refused to doorbell ditch with them. (Seriously? I never thought he'd outgrow that. And you have no idea how relieved I am that he did.) And the movies at our outdoor movie nights slowly switched from "Cars" to really strange movies about ax murderers. Frankly, they are icky. And scary. And not suitable for younger audiences. Heck, they aren't even suitable for me to watch.
All of this is totally cool with me. After all, I don't have to make plans for a kid who has his plans of his own.
And I think that's the best part of all. He works part time during the summer. And he makes his own plans with his own friends. Sometimes he even makes plans with me (usually, though, this involves me paying for an expensive pair of shoes). And there's still a visit to Grandma to take. And yes, I know how fortunate we are to be able to have summers like this. Believe me, I don't take them for granted, but I am willing to take them for as long as I can.
What about you?
Do you plan summers?
Or do you just go with the flow?
If your kids are older, do they plan their summers themselves?
Laurie Sontag is a Parenting Guru at Yahoo Shine who is raising a teenager and has absolutely no clue what she is doing. She is also a newspaper columnist, published writer and author of the popular blog, Manic Motherhood. She can be found hiding on Facebook and sometimes on Twitter, although honestly? 140 characters are difficult for a woman who talks nonstop about nothing all day.