It is officially the summer holidays! Yes, no school, but wait… the kids haven’t been in school since mid-March. So the big challenge for parents is how to make the next two months feel different from the previous three, where the kids were at home, and in most cases didn’t have regular schedules.
I think it is really important to differentiate lockdown from the summer holidays. I know many parents did their best with homeschooling and trying to maintain some sort of regular daily routine, but now that summer has arrived, it's time to let all that go!
I have taken delight this week in not setting an alarm, the novelty of it all. Also, goodbye Sea Saw. You were great but its time for us to take a break. Hello lazy mornings, hello lots of outdoor adventures, lots of reading and binge-watching TV shows with my daughter Joan.
I have said this before in the column, I am incredibly lucky that as my radio show goes out Saturday and Sunday mornings: I can make up my own working hours across the week.
I know this is a luxury that the majority of parents don’t have. At the same time, I think now families need to recharge. The challenges of lockdown have been immense on all of us, and I am hoping that over the next 8 weeks or so, families across Ireland can make the most of what this incredible country has to offer, to take mini breaks, to rest up and to have quality time together.
To let a bit of wildness enter our lives. Let the kids get dirty, skip a shower or two, have a few extra treats, and stay up extra late. These are the days we remember from our childhood, and it will be the same for our children. There has also been so much talk about ‘missing out’ on annual holidays with flight restrictions. but I think it is the wrong way to look at things. Let's think of the summer of 2020 as an opportunity to discover incredible places in Ireland we didn’t even know existed.
I am not sugar-coating it completely, as personally I know the disappointment of not getting on a plane this summer. For the first time ever, I won’t be spending any time with my family or back at my childhood home in Canada this summer. It’s heartbreaking to think of, but it has also made me all the more determined to make this summer in Ireland special for Joan.
We decided to put together a ‘bucket list’. So far on it we have 2-day trips a week, get back to swimming, read a book every day and hold a puppy. First up this week we made a trip to the Turvey Nature Reserve in Donabate, Co Dublin, a place we had never even heard of. The excitement of packing a picnic and the two of us heading off early one morning was so special. We spend the day in greenery and clean air, chatting about absolutely everything.
Also this week, we went to Ardgillan Castle for the first time in years. We spent hours in the gardens, and walking through the forest. There were so many places to just sit and flake out, with swallows flying all around us. It was so relaxing for both of us to be in an open, green space. The planning part of the adventures has been a real partnership, and I love how eager Joan is in deciding what we do next. I know we are making memories, despite how unusual and extreme the year has been so far, and I am hoping everyone is too.
Happy summer, everyone!