The one thing I look forward to each year as summer break approaches is having an abundance of time. During the school year, we are so constrained by our over-scheduled world. Out of the house by 7 a.m., errands, work, dinner prep during the day, carpool in the afternoon, home for a quick snack before we’re off to Kumon or baseball or golf or softball or dance or tabla (Indian drums), etc. etc. etc. That is a typical day on most days of the week, multiplied by 3 kids. The weekends are no reprieve from the go-go-go, where tournaments typically dominate our time.
For our family, summer breaks provide much needed time which, in turn, correlates to freedom. Freedom to wake up when we want, stay up as late as we want and fill our days with whatever we want! My eyes widen with all the possibilities! I think of all of the things that I want to do and accomplish with the kids this summer, like teaching them how to cook, teaching them how to read/write/speak Gujarati (our native language), teaching them about our religion, reading books with them, swimming, play dates, working out, watching movies, traveling, and giving back to our community.
The mad scientist in me contemplates how I am going to make this happen. Everything I want to undertake will require precise scheduling. We can start with language lessons at 9 a.m., then read a book for an hour, move on to learning about Krishna. I can work in cooking lessons by teaching them how to prepare their own lunch. Then, we’ll transition to learning about a city that we would like to visit. We can invite some friends over for a play date, but it will have to be short because we will be moving on to some form of charity work. We can end the day with an educational movie and popcorn.
This plan is perfect in my head until the first week of summer break comes to an end. Every evening, the kids want to stay up past 9 p.m. playing cribbage and monopoly. Every morning, they sleep in until 10 a.m. Every day, they stroll down in their pajamas and plop on the couch and decide to watch reruns of Fresh Prince for 3 hours. I can’t even pry them away from their phones while they Snapchat their ingenious videos with their friends (those videos are pretty out of this world!).
And I bring my outrageous expectations of summer break back down to reality. I think of a New York Times bestselling author who summed it up beautifully.
“Summer is the annual permission slip to be lazy. To do nothing and have it count for something. To lie in the grass and count the stars. To sit on a branch and study the clouds.”
So for the time being, I think I’ll just let the kids be kids and relish in the lazy summer.
Born in India and raised in Chicago, Gita Kshatriya now calls Arizona home. In her previous life, she was a mechanical engineer, mainly focusing on the design of nuclear power plants. After moving to Arizona, her role transitioned to Jack of All Trades. She can be found helping her husband run his small business, working on proposals for her father-in-law’s civil engineering firm and often helping her mother-in-law cook for up to 100 senior citizens. But most of all, she enjoys the craziness that comes along with raising her three very busy children (ages 15, 12 and 10). Through her blog, Warrior In The Kitchen, she is on a mission to make sure her Indian roots, family traditions, recipes and stories live on in her children. You can follow her on WarriorInTheKitchen, Facebook and Instagram.