By Sister Jeanne Cmolik
The weeds are out of control in the garden. The lawn needs mowing again! The birdbath is always empty and the nozzle on the hose is broken. The air conditioner in the kitchen is working way too hard to cool the first floor; why didn’t we get whole house air conditioning when we talked about it in the spring?
Wait! Sit down in a lawn chair with a glass of lemonade for a few minutes and consider this: summer is passing you by, and you’re being crabby about a time you just LOVED when you were a kid. Think about what you loved and re-claim it again. If you feel foolish about doing this as an adult, find a child to take with you! If you don’t have one of suitable age, grab a grandchild or a niece—or grandniece–or a neighbor’s child and have her take you back to the joys of summer, and maybe you can even introduce her to a joy she doesn’t know. Parents and grandparents know that being with children makes it perfectly respectable to act like one (to keep them company, of course).
Let’s get started. Go to a park with swings and a wading pool. When your (borrowed) child is on a swing, stand behind him and push him hard until he is yelping with delight. Then, because you are tired, sit on a swing yourself and show the child how you pump with your legs until you, too, are high in the sky. It’s an important lesson to teach him, isn’t it—and you’re having fun!
Don’t stay on the swings too long. Go to the wading pool and watch your child splash around with the other kids. When she splashes YOU, complain a little and splash her back. Doesn’t that feel wonderful? And it’s quite acceptable to continue the splashing game because she started it!
Sit on the porch in the evening and catch fireflies in a jar. Remember to show your child how to poke holes in the lid so the fireflies will live. Sit quietly in the darkness and admire their beauty. (It’s all coming back to you, isn’t it?)
Be sure to have money in your pocket because when you hear the music from the ice cream truck on your street, you may not have time to get your wallet. Of course, you must accompany your child to the truck for safety’s sake, and when the driver asks if you would like something and you start to decline, your child cries out “Go on—get some ice cream!” What can you do but go along with it? You want to be a good sport.
Do you live near a river or a lake or maybe even the ocean? Plan a trip there soon. Take bathing suits and pails and shovels and a picnic lunch and make a day of it. Show your child how to skip stones across the water. Soak in the sun, cool off in the water, and enjoy picnic food that always tastes better than lunch usually does. If you can, plan a special dessert like big chocolate chip cookies or cupcakes with lots of icing.
If you are feeling brave, pitch a tent in your yard and sleep out overnight with your child. Here are some basic rules to follow for a successful campout: roast hot dogs and marshmallows, walk barefoot in the wet grass, and tell ghost stories. Oh, and don’t forget to lie on the ground and look at the stars!
About the Author
Sister Jeanne Cmolik, CSJ, has served in various leadership positions including being a member of the Congregation Leadership Team from 2007-2013. She has also ministered in elementary schools, high schools, and parishes in the Cleveland area, and worked with new members in the Congregation. She enjoys reading, travel, music and writing blog posts! Currently she offers spiritual direction and works with RCIA in a local parish.