September 2016 Island Parent

Page 52


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Making Memories


or parents, summer operates on the weird laws of quantum physics rather than the normal logic of the other seasons. Depending on when and where you look at it, the dimensions of summer seem to expand or contract. In January, summer looks impossibly distant, a flickering mirage on the horizon of a long, dark winter. By mid-August, when your kids have gone feral, it feels like time has stopped. Will summer ever end? Then Labour Day hits and panic ensues because vacation season has vanished in a blink, leaving unfulfilled plans and hasty backto-school preparations. Where did it all go? Having kids amps up your anxiety. We have only so many summers in which to forge family memories before the fatcheeked toddlers we squeezed into sun-suits are now quaffing coffee and hustling out the door for new jobs. Summer, like childhood, is fleeting. You can’t waste a week. Working parents must also juggle planning holidays with scouting summer camps. For our family, the worrying kicks off around March Break, when we start to compile a spreadsheet of options. What’s the right mix of outdoor fun and self-improvement activities? Of sports and arts? Of enjoying old friendships and making new ones? Summer is also a good time to untether kids from the hypnotizing screens of smartphones, iPads and TVs. But it’s 2016. Won’t their job prospects falter if we don’t register them in “Learn to Code” camps before Grade 3? (Full disclosure: My parents sent me to Computer Camp back in the dawn of the P.C. Era, where I had to study Boolean logic and solder circuit boards in a hot classroom while my friends frolicked at the neighbourhood pool. I might forgive them one day.) Kids have high expectations for the sunny season, too—and let you know when their projections aren’t met. When he was five or six, my son would ride an emotional rollercoaster to the bottom of a big day and then, over-tired and cranky, start shouting: “Worst! Trip! Ever!” or “Worst! Summer!

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