School’s out...

By John Toth

We couldn’t wait for that last school bell. The seconds felt like hours.

None of us were doing anything. We were biding our time until freedom, focusing on the clock on the classroom wall. Each tick brought us closer. The teachers knew better than to say anything of substance.

Then it happened. The bell went off. We excitedly rushed out the school’s front doors. Summer was here.

It was a special feeling. The air smelled great. It seemed like summer would be forever. I didn’t have a care in the world.

No more getting up early in the morning, no more studying, no more homework or term projects … just fun in the sun.

Yes, it’s great to be a kid knowing that all you have to worry about all summer is … nothing.

If you are a kid reading this column, trying to decide whether you should go to a movie or the beach, cherish these moments. They do not last forever. You will look back at them in a few decades and wish you could get them back. They’ll be back, but it takes a while.

There are some things that kids have to get used to during summer vacations, like transitioning from sleeping in class to sleeping at home. Put your head down on the dining room table for starters; in the afternoon, move to the couch. Just kidding.

Things get a little more complicated after school is out forever, and the job world takes over. The summer days are then just normal days until the family comes along, and a new generation of children are smelling that special air on the last day of school and don’t seem to have a care in the world.

I look back at my children’s summer and sometimes wonder if three months is too long to be out of school. It gets old after a while to stumble into the living room at noon and ask what’s for breakfast.
Usually, by the second week, I would hear: “I’m bored. There is nothing to do.”

Having school-aged kids at home during the summer was actually not that bad once I figured out how to work around their schedule. The mornings were never a problem.

Now that all of mine have moved into the adult world of working, I can look back and honestly tell you that we had some good times.

The breakfast tacos were waiting in the refrigerator, ready to be microwaved. The vacations were always planned out and a big deal. The weekends of camping, beach, movies, family outings are all filed away in memories and in thousands of photographs.

Then we had youth sports to schedule around, especially softball, which never ends. Readers with daughters in softball have probably noticed that.

Then comes the summer job, usually part-time, which leaves plenty of time for other summer stuff. I always had a summer job … at a summer camp, where the goal of the day was how to make it look like I was doing something important while doing the absolute minimum. It was a great job.

So, with each segment of life, summer is different, but enjoyable. But I must admit that the first segment of having no cares in the world was the best.

That segment returns eventually. But I am trying to delay it as much as possible. Then, each day will be the beginning of a summer vacation, regardless of the season.

But wait. That special feeling on the last day of school was because it happened only once a year. It would get old quickly if it happened every day.

Or would it? I’m willing to risk it. But not for a while.