Thursday, September 02, 2010


Last night we attended a giant family outdoor movie party in the huge backyard of some local friends. They invited half the town (not really) and strung a sheet from their playset and showed "Alvin and the Chipmunks" once it got dark. Everyone brought blankets and camp chairs and all the kiddos wore their pj's. We ate popcorn and M&Ms and wrapped up in blankies and the kids got to stay up till 10 p.m.

And if THAT'S not a fitting (almost-) end to the Summer of Fun, I don't know what is. (Less fun: the red rings of welts Julia has around both eyes, Mosquito Bites From Hell from bugs that defied the ten doses of mosquito spray with which I doused her and all the rest of us too, to little avail.)

So. The Summer of Fun is clearly going out with a bang. (Thanks, wonderful and fun Organ family, for the awesome outdoor backyard family movie party!)

The other day I asked my girls what their absolute favorite part was about our Summer of Fun. They immediately answered "the ice cream shop in Minneapolis" (Sebastian Joe's, Linden Hills location), which proves that they are their mother's children. Because OF COURSE, right???

But then of course they kept amending their answers, adding, "Oh, and Popcorn Wednesday!" and "Friday mornings at the pool!" and "picking berries at the farm!" (Hmmm, do you notice a largely food-related theme?)

What's sweet and interesting but not surprising at all to any parent is how their favorite parts--the memories that jump immediately to mind when I ask them for the best of this summer--are mostly the small, simple, yet totally beloved little rituals and activities I did with them, not necessarily the biggest or most complicated special events. Popcorn from the old-timey cart on our town square every Wednesday afternoon. Toddler time at the city pool every Friday morning. Our farm-share pick up every other week. Children love rituals. Rituals make them feel special.

Which, of course, when you come right down to it, was exactly what the Summer of Fun was really all about.


Mnmom said...

Life's little moments? They aren't so little.

Anne said...

I like this. I felt slightly envious whenever you'd post something about an elaborate extravagant outing, - that I wasn't able to do that too (I tried: she'd crash). I tried to remind myself, "her kids are older, I have a toddler," but you know... But for us too, it really has been a precious summer, despite it being summer of sick rather than summer of fun, and I think it really comes down to the things she can hold on to, which for her is about food and things that occur over and over. Long outings are just exasperating to her. and so to me too. But I am attached to creating memories. So every day has evolved some unique play date, like in the stone ring in the Arb with a friend and her kids, or river walk down town, or the pool, or the coffee shop, or the playground, or the science center at St. Olaf, or at home for play dates with friends who have time off from work. Which is fun and different for me too. And now the impending change of things is kind of exciting too. In a bitter-sweet kind of way.

Shan said...

Anne---You have to understand, that the reason this summer was the Summer of Fun---both the reason I decided to MAKE it so, AND the reason it actually turned out to be, was precisely because my girls are not the ages they are. When they were Lilly's age, summer was quite hard. If you look back in my archives, you would quickly see this is the first true good summer we have had! ;) Things get so much easier once your kids hit preschooler age and up. You can actually do these little adventures. It has been a brand new experience for me/us this year and it's exhilarating! Hang in there---yours is coming to you, in about 2 or 3 years.

Shan said...

Oops! I meant to say, above, "because my girls are NOW the ages they are," not that they are NOT the ages they are. Sheesh! Sorry.

Anne said...

thanks, Shan!! Something to look forward to ... ;) And truly, even this summer's been easier than last. And the one before. And even end of this summer as opposed to the beginning of it (when all I could do was prevent her from running into the street; now I can actually get some gardening done with her following me around, "helping" me weed, etc.).

Rita said...

I love this! In fact, now that William is in school, I have instituted a "snuggle on the stairs" ritual. A ten minute window of time when he first arrives home from school when he and I spend time together on the stairs snuggling and talking about his day. When I asked the other day what his favorite part about school was? He said "coming home to the stairs".
And then my heart melted into a tiny puddle.