Monday, August 15, 2011

Last days of summer

Summer is such a schizophrenic time for me. On the one hand, I wake up at five thirty and run, shower and go to work, the same as I do every other frigging day of the year. On the other hand, the house is filled with long lazy days and unfulfilled desires and endless, endless fights over who gets to have a playdate or who is touching whose Legos. I get home and the heat and need to loaf hit me like a wave, but then there is no loafing, because however leisurely the kids might feel themselves, they don't really share that feeling with others, and monitoring them is a fulltime job and M has been up in his ears with it for the past nine hours and it's my turn now and also everyone is hunnnngrrry. So like every other mother on the planet I am looking forward with panting enthusiasm to the first day of school. I am also trying to wring every last drop of summer from this month. Thus this weekend I spent in a frenzy of yard work, and then took the kids (and my parents, who are visiting in order to help us with the last critical week before school starts) to do two installments of our summer Park Project.

The pavilion at Cheesman Park

The Park project is where we visit Denver parks, investigate their offerings, and fill out a little survey sheet.

Helen gave the fountains top marks but found the playground average at best.

The survey sheets are more to make it official than anything else (well, I think Silas secretly loves them. They fulfill his need for order). Otherwise we're just visiting parks and testing the playgrounds. These were our second and third parks; last time we went to Observatory Park, which still earns top marks from both kids (the observatory. Not many parks can boast a functional observatory, and the fact that it was closed on the day we visited probably made it even more desirable. The mysteries of the stars, etc., as opposed to the pain in the neck of peering through a telescope at tiny swimming pinpricks that, we're assured, are VERY IMPORTANT.)

Si tested the pavilion for scooter worthiness.
The playground was serviceable. Although less so for proto teens.

I'm hoping to visit at least one more park before the summer's really done (probably not before school starts, though, which means not before baseball and soccer start in earnest, so really, who am I kidding? Life, which has been pretending to be busy all summer, is about to crank into high gear.)

Smith Lake at Washington Park.

For me, the Park Project has been an excuse to visit places I've meant to go for three years and explore the city we sort of live in a little more. It's both satisfying and sad. I wish that I could have been doing this all summer, for one thing. And it makes me think of all the other things I wish I was doing with the kids, and how I desperately wish I could have the summers off, and how the kids are growing up and already Si is almost too old to be read aloud to (one of the main reasons I had kids, already phasing itself out! Why go on?). I get this rushing, panicky sense of needing to do it all now and maximize this day, this week, this time of their lives.

I have to forcibly sit down sometimes, and remember: in twenty years (in five years), the details won't matter. Their childhood will have become just that--the thing they have, imperfect, marked by expediency and what-we-happened-to-have-on-hand-at-the-time-ism--and it will be enough. Really. It will. Even if they don't learn Spanish.

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