Milestone Summer

I love the saying “when you have kids the days are long, but the years are short.” As cliché as that is, it sure is accurate. This was our first real “summer break” since we were in school and you don’t realize how different it is until you’re in it. Pre-kids I remember when co-workers with kids would take spring break off and have to pretty much rearrange their lives for summer break, take vacations, etc. I didn’t get it, the year was just one continuous motion to me. Now we’re right on that train and it feels good to have that first year of learning (for Hannah and us) out of the way.

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One thing you think about, but can’t really plan for the first year, is what to do with your school-ager during summer break if you and your spouse both work. We looked at 100 options and probably missed 100 more, but ultimately did a mix of Y day camp and some other one-off camps. We figured a few things out this year and will be better prepared next year. The camps aren’t cheap, but the kids definitely don’t get cheated – Hannah was more exhausted afterward than she ever was after school. And the coolest part is she was able to develop some skills and friendships along the way.

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This summer Hannah had a couple of goals: learn to ride her bike without training wheels and pass the swim test. She didn’t exactly “declare” them, but they were both things she wanted to do and if I’m being honest, I didn’t really think she’d get to them. I’m not sure why that is, she’s relatively athletic and mature enough to do both, so I really shouldn’t have doubted her. I wasn’t discouraging obviously, I love nothing more than seeing her grow and learn, and those are two of the proudest moments I’ve experienced in my life.

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And what a huge lesson we learned. When your kids are really young you do so much for them and slowly they start to adapt and become more independent. Stating the obvious here, I know. But what you don’t realize is that at some point the learning process steps on the gas, so while she was seemingly so far off from riding a bike without training wheels or swimming competently, she picked them both up so much quicker than I expected. Another unexpected feeling, in addition to the intense pride and happiness for my daughter’s accomplishments, was a subtle, but real, sense of loss as they ride/swim away from you and while their newfound independence is something to be celebrated, as a parent you feel a tinge of melancholy as it’s one less thing they rely on you for. I imagine it to be a tiny fraction of the feeling parents get when their kid heads to prom or college or finally moves out – in the grand scheme of things, we’re just a foothill at the base of their newfound mountain of freedom.

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I almost forgot another big accomplishment from this summer – Hannah doing her first flip into a swimming pool! Here’s a video. Sure, she damn near hit her head a dozen times, but she’s didn’t so it’s all good! I love that she just went for it after seeing her cousin Bronson do it – one of the best feelings in the world is seeing your child face their fear and just kick ass.

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We also made it to a couple of water parks this summer and if you ever want to see 12-year-old Jake, just come with us next time. The kiddos had a blast, which is important I suppose, and we even got Sam in the water a few times! We went to Holiday World and Cedar Point water parks, both of which also have massive roller coasters, and Hannah kept asking when she could ride on them. She’s still a couple inches too short, but I’m amazed that she wants to go on them. And, of course, despite my lack of desire to ride them myself, obviously there’s no chance in hell I’m going to deny my daughter the opportunity. So next summer ol’ dad will put on his cargo shorts, Daytona Beach tank top, Asics walking shoes, and trying-to-look-cooler-than-I-am shades and take one for the team.

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Going to water parks and museums is tough with a 3-year-old, especially one who naps regularly. Logan lives up to his name sometimes (Wolverine) when he’s sleep deprived – it’s a good thing we had him declawed. Hannah can go strong though. After spending several hours at Holiday World we went back to the campground and spent another 2 hours on the waterslides and in the pool there. Side note: I highly, highly recommend Holiday World over Cedar Point if you’re looking for a water park within 5-6 hour drive. Of course, there’s also Wisconsin Dells, Kings Island, and other parks in Sandusky – eventually we’ll hit them all!

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Last year we tried t-ball, but this summer it was soccer, which Hannah enjoyed significantly more. It was fun seeing her and the other kids get more confident and aggressive as the summer went on. Due to lack of more qualified volunteers (which wouldn’t take much), I was a coach, and while it’s something I really enjoy doing, hopefully they’ll find a much better teacher of the game than me and I can be in charge of hydration and yelling “turn it around!” and “go the other way!” If your kid plays youth soccer you know what I mean haha.

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A couple more quick hits for commemoration sake. We had 2 guinea pigs for about 2 weeks. That was a fail. In less than 14 days the kids had rashes, we were out a couple hundred bucks, and Hannah’s bedroom smelled like a farm. Also, Hannah had her first “friends” birthday party and it was a great success – huge kudos to Sam for handling the vast majority of planning and running it. I got the chance to stop by, but had to work, so I missed out on most of the fun.

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Overall, it was a fantastic “first” summer. They should have them more often. Now it’s on to Christmas break and spring break planning. I realize now that our entire year, and lives, are dictated by school breaks. It’s going to be a fun ride, so here’s to continued adventures, farmers tans, and the creation of lifelong memories!

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September 6, 2018. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Observations and musings, Updates. Leave a comment.

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