Opinion

The hottest months of the year can be busy and stressful

One of the Hennessey family’s many pursuits is organizing a back-to-school drive at the end of the summer, gathering school supplies for those in need. - File photo
One of the Hennessey family’s many pursuits is organizing a back-to-school drive at the end of the summer, gathering school supplies for those in need.
— image credit: File photo

growing up on Vashon

“You can always tell the English. You can always tell the Dutch. You can always tell Lubahn’s class, but you can’t tell much. Thank goodness it’s Friday!”

At Hilltop Elementary in Puyallup in the 1970s, John Lubahn’s sixth-grade class gathered every Friday to yell that cheer at exactly three o’clock. Then, just as the cheers and whistles and claps started to fade, the class of kids burst out of the room and ran toward the buses. I remember very clearly that sense Fridays gave — the sense of excitement, of wonder, of joy. In that moment, every Friday, life was full of possibilities.

Well, that feeling of possibilities is what my children feel as they come off the bus from school at the end of the year. The summer lays out before them, full of adventures.

The reality, at least from their mom’s perspective, is that summer is tough. Running a business becomes starkly more difficult when kids are home — or worse, going to and from classes all over off and on the Island all summer long. I know I am not the only parent who posts a summer schedule to manage the traffic flow. And the costs of your life in summer definitely shoot up, between camp fees and classes.

The reality is that many moms (and dads), myself included, have no time in summer for the things we dearly love doing — exercising, gardening, getting time alone. I am sure our tempers are shorter. I know the juggling is harder.

I often tell the story about being on a conference call when my youngest son was 2, and he wanted me to hold him. I ended up running around the backyard, trying to quickly wrap up the call on my cell, as my toddler cried and ran after me. Yeah, it gets complicated. By September, I am drooling in anticipation of school.

So facing

an increase in multitasking, an increase in money due, an increase in “quality time” with my children and a decrease in time alone, summer doesn’t feel magical to me.

A few years ago, I wrote in a column about some things I was going to do with my kids during the summer.

The list in-

cluded sleeping in a big tent in our yard, going to a drive-in movie with the kids, finding an ice-cream truck, picking berries for pie, talking less at swim lessons and watching the kids more, going to Ober Park for Thursday night concerts and letting my kids stay up later in the summer.

Four years later, I am happy to say I have done many of the things I promised each summer. Yes, summer may cost a lot of money, come with little downtime and be a hard time to run a business. But I really don’t think my kids need to know about all of that.

So I do my best to just handle it — one week at a time — and they seem to be having the time of their lives. Because summer also includes tents, beaches, bonfires, and concerts in the park. And I think that is what I want them to remember when they look back on summer.

Imagine the possibilities. Mr. Lubahn, you’d be proud.

— Lauri Hennessey runs her own public relations business and is the mother of three children who are very busy each summer. You can reach her at lauri@hennesseypr.com.

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