It seems that every year my kids are in school summer vacation has some kind of osteoporosis. Seriously. It seems as if it is shrinking! When I was a child (and attending a school outside the home), we were dismissed for the summer that last week in May- or that first week in June at the lastest! We didn't return to school until after Labor Day in September. These days school seems to have changed. My daughter starts school the week before Labor Day, which does not make sense to me at all. She goes to school for two days and then gets a long holiday weekend before returning to school. She then continues to attend school until just about that last week in June. That's when my mind wanders to those carefree days we had when I was a child. I remember all those long bike rides I used to take, or the family camping trips, or even our expeditions to upstate NY to visit Grandma Webster and the rest of my dad's family. Seems like the summers from my childhood went on for what seems like ages. These days, perhaps partly because I'm older and partly because the school system is becoming more and more socialist and stingy with summer, those vacations for my kids seem much shorter and fly by.
My daughter is subject to a number of social conventions and a few nonconventions as well. The idea of shorter summers makes me angry as many of my own memories are wrapped up in summer vacations. I feel as if the system is robbing her of her childhood each year. Here's where the nonconvention comes in. My husband is active duty Coast Guard. His schedule does not always line up with the public school systems'. The stubborn streak inside me is smiling smugly at our inadvertant jab at the Man. Because Seth can't always take leave that coincides with school vacation, oftentimes our day trips or vacations have my daughter missing a day here or there. Little by little, thanks to Uncle Sam, she gets her "summer vacation" in other ways. Today is her last day of school, but most of her public school friends will still be in school most of next week. We are pulling her out early so we can kick the summer off by going on our first camping trip as a family. Why not wait a week? Because Uncle Sam said so. HA! So here we are, getting ready to have an old fashioned summer jam packed full of memories and fun for our kids and we get to kick it off the right way, whether or not the state likes it.