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(http://www NULL.achildafter40 NULL.com/back-to-school/summer-wine/)Well, the jury’s in from my anxious prognostications back in May, when the challenges of the summer lay in wait for us like the Sirens on island of the Faiakes.

And, as profoundly as I love my children, there’s something of a relief in being permitted to pack up the Mom ’n’ Pop Big Top Summer Circus Show as the beginning of the school year nips warmly at my heels.

The conclusion of the summer “holiday” (for children, at least) has me shaking my head in dismay, hoping for more than just a ray of enlightenment. Did I just survive two and half months of serial pestering: “Mom, what are we doing today?”

Not that we didn’t have balls of fun together. We did. But when did families become islands in the stream, isolated from a sense of safety within a larger community?

I’m salivating over my own childhood memories—brought to you by the Dark Ages of the 1960’s and 70’s—when the pester-your-parents question du jour was: “Mom, can I go over to Johnny’s house?”

Then, it was as easy as little Michael Jackson’s “A-B-C” –-in “1-2-3”, you’d skip out of the house, shimmy three doors down and be in somebody else’s world for a day, and out of your parents’ hair.

Your mother’s turn to entertain a pack of neighborhood wild ones would inevitably arrive. But kids always make their own fun, don’t they? With only an occasional outbreak of juvenile warfare to suppress, she could bake brownies and watch I Love Lucy all day long.

Oh, how little grown-ups appreciated suburban life back then. They were too worried how much their cookie-cutter houses all looked the same. Yet, what it offered was a cornucopia of childhood freedom, unrecognizable by today’s standards.

In the new millennium, unless you have a dynasty of extended family for your children to terrorize, or a small fortune to spend on the growing surplus of summer camps, it’s: “Mom, what are we doing today?”

By August, like Bill Murray, I was starring in my own home movie: Mommy Groundhog Day (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=T_yDWQsrajA).

Every morning I’d wake up to two shining faces: “Mom, what are we doing today?”

Of course, the sugar plums of activities dancing in their heads didn’t include household chores like scrubbing the scrunge from the knobs on the toilet base or—my personal fave—sweeping the dead potato bugs up from the garage floor.

Home was suddenly the Big Top. I was “the talent”.

So, I surfed the web in search of ideas, only to discover some of the most ridiculous suggestions for thrilling your children with summer entertainment: start a “family book club”, have a “family night”, or whip up some frenzied enthusiasm with a dramatic “bedroom makeover”.

What happened to the “great outdoors”?

What happened to building a tree fort, swimming at the local watering hole or setting up a lemonade stand (but, of course, children need a $500 business permit (http://blog NULL.lawinfo NULL.com/2011/06/21/children%E2%80%99s-lemonade-stand-fined-500-for-operating-without-a-license/) for that now, don’t they?)?

These days, summer vacation entails inventing, then spoon-feeding, our children with each and every dose of imaginative summer fun. What next? Will we be eating their popsicles for them?

Notes for this blog:

Angel La Liberte is the founder of the website Flower Power Mom—The Truth About Motherhood After 40 (http://www NULL.achildafter40 NULL.com/) (www.flowerpowermom.com (http://www NULL.achildafter40 NULL.com/)), a regular blog featuring commentary, real mom stories and expert advice about motherhood after 40. She gave birth to her children at 41 and 44 after conceiving naturally.

She also founded A Child After 40, a new online community to empower all women on the journey of motherhood after 40—via natural conception, IVF, ART, egg/sperm donation, surrogacy, adoption and parenting.http://www.achildafter40.com/a-child-after-40-online/.

2 Responses to Last of the Summer Whine

  1. MomAgain@40 (http://momagain40 NULL.blogspot NULL.com) says:

    Great post! LOL
    In my days… We entertained ourselves, and we were in the streets on our bicycles, and going on adventures in nearby fields…
    So sad that we can’t let our children do those things anymore. I want to know 24/7 where they are and what they are up to!

  2. Michele says:

    Great post Angel, congratulations on surviving another summer, glad we got at least one beach trip in together! Funny, or maybe not so funny – my kids are still expecting the entertainment, only it is condensed into the three hours we have after school and before dinner!! Here’s to days of more wine and less whine!!

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