Squirming, talking, laughing, looking out the window at the sunshine. We were sitting in our desks but could not keep still or quiet. Finally, when the clock above the chalkboard said 3:00, the last bell of the year would ring, and out of the building we would fly.
Summer stretched before us, endless and exciting, filled with sunshine and fun and magic. Adventure awaited, and finally, finally, we were free.
Now, years later, I still get excited when the official start of summer arrives.
My daughter’s last school bell rang last week--she’ll be starting college in a few months--so I want to make this summer extra special.
Here are a few ideas I’m thinking about doing this summer that I hope will inspire you as well.
1. Talk a walk. If you've been reading Glimsen for very long, you know I make a habit of doing this, but I'm listing it anyway in case you'd like to do it too. Grab your camera or smart phone, and take to the street in your neighborhood or nearby park. See what captures your attention. Maybe it’s a flower that’s unfamiliar, a bird perched in the tree above, a caterpillar on the path, or some kids playing in the sprinkler. Take photos of what you see.
Have you ever noticed how just holding your camera up to something can set it apart and make it special? Plus, documenting what you see will help you remember your walk and may inspire you to do it regularly.
You might be surprised at the beauty you find, even in a place as familiar as your own neighborhood, when you slow down and look.
My husband often joins me on my walks, which I love, but it's a bit slow and dull for my daughter, so this summer, I'm making it a personal goal to get her to go with me.
2. Be a tourist. Familiarity breeds boredom. Sometimes we can get in a rut. But you don't have to wait for vacation to be a tourist. Add some fun to your summer by going someplace new in your hometown.
Last Saturday, Mart and I went to lunch at a new restaurant for our weekly date. The restaurant was only about 20 minutes away, but it was in a part of town where we don’t normally go. After a delicious lunch (salmon salad for me, an omelet for him), we “discovered” a downtown developing there that we had no idea existed. We made a plan to go back and explore it again soon.
Is there a nearby area or attraction that you’ve never visited? Look up official tourism websites and ask friends for ideas. It's surprising sometimes what you can find within a few miles' radius.
This summer, we want our daughter to take us to her favorite local park called the Mill, which offers a waterfall and historic equipment from the mill's operational days. Even though it's just around the corner, I sheepishly admit that Mart and I have never gone. She took me recently, and once he sees it, it's guaranteed to become a favorite local destination for him too.
3. Try something new. My daughter likes to try new things, and she's fearless in the kitchen. I don’t love to cook, but I do like to spend time with her. Some of my favorite memories are of us baking something for a school assignment.
One morning a few months ago, I got an email from her. Mom! I need to make madeleines tonight for French class. Here's a recipe. Usually she gives me more notice than that, but it didn't take me long to gather the ingredients. That evening, she jumped right in, beating eggs, melting butter, sprinkling powdered sugar, and videoing the process in French along the way. The madeleines turned out yummy, she made a good grade, and we had fun together.
Is there something you’ve been wanting to try? How can you involve your family or a friend? Or is it something that you’d enjoy doing alone? Whatever it is, put it on your calendar today to ensure that you do it. I'm going to do the same as soon as we can all compare calendars.
Here's to summer. May yours be filled with sunshine and fun and magic. And may you experience and enjoy the beauty around you.
What new things do you want to do or try this summer? What are your summer plans? I'd love to hear in the comments below, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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