Saturday, August 15, 2009

What I did this summer

With official summer vacation at an end, it's a good time for the traditional what I did this summer essay. As always, I had grand dreams and plans. In the end though reality interfered,as it usually does, and instead of the super-organized we opted for the more flexible approach. In a rather erratic fashion we practiced phonics, did mental math, practiced writing and spelling, tried some dictation and some oral narration. We read lots of books and looked at pictures. The Little House on the Prairie was very popular this summer. The kids played all kinds of pretend olden days games, complete with wagons, trundle beds, cabins and fireplaces and trolleys. We listened to lots of music and story tapes. We had lots of discussions about many different subjects. We did all kinds of projects, colored stained glass pictures and regular pictures, made and decorated bookmarks, made newspaper slippers, made clocks with cardboard, stickers and clock mechanisms, altered a store bought clock, redecorated and reorganized the kids' room. We tried some gardening with various degree of success and finally abandoned it mostly due to the heat and lack of time. There were ice cream cones and other summer treats. We tried out embroidery and baked together. We tried out new recipes and washed the living room rug in the tub. The kids helped around the house and were more involved in Shabbos preparations. We went out on local outings. We bought school supplies. We worked on our middos individually and as a family. We looked at old family albums. We sang and even danced on occasion. The older kids had some swimming lessons and went bike riding while for the younger set it was more of a spectator sport. One day ran into another. There were endless make mess/clean up cycles and piles and piles of laundry. Meals were made and speedily devoured, dishes were washed , only to reappear again in prodigious quantities in the sink. Toys and books and things were scattered all over and tidied up and reorganized over and over again. There were the usual colds and cuts and scrapes and tears and a few sleepless nights. There were fights and there were moments of great togetherness and cooperation. There were surprises from parents to children and from children to parents. There were very loud times and times of quiet and reflection. There were the moments of realization of how much everyone has grown both physically and emotionally in the past year. There were moments of great nachas and sometimes moments of disappointment. There were family get-togethers and play dates. Did all of this really happen in such a short span of time? Even on the most difficult days, there was something good that happened. A cute saying here, a sweet hug there, a successful project, a new something learned, an exciting discovery, a flight of a child's or parent's imagination, a new dream or an old one . This summer,more so than the previous ones, made me realize how much really takes place even on the quiet (or loud) days of normal domesticity. As they say, no news is good news. Thank G-d just for regular, ordinary, everyday, no bells and whistles living. And this is what I did this summer.


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