It’s been almost a month since returning from our family vacation to New England – and less than two weeks before school starts. Yikes! That rascally, slippery summertime — those months teasing me with sun, relaxation and overly ambitious plans — is quickly disappearing. Here are 7 things I’ve learned this summer:
1. On vacation I learned that my son, who has somehow made it through many years of school, had no idea that Connecticut is a state. He thought Connecticut was a city…or a mysterious, magical place; he couldn’t really say. Those laminated placemats of the United States I purchased when the kids were little weren’t as educational as I thought.
2. T-Rex and Drama Girl are really good car travelers, but they don’t seem to grasp the concepts of time or distance. I couldn’t get why they kept asking us if we were still in [Name of State] when we had driven right by the “Welcome to [Name of Other State]” sign minutes before!
3. This introduced our family to the catch-phrase “Straight-A Stupid,” compliments of T-Rex. I’m fortunate the kids both enjoy and do well in school, but Common Sense 101 is clearly missing from their curriculum!
4. Boston continues to be one of my favorite cities to visit, although I have yet to make my way out of the main tourist areas. I recommend taking a Boston Duck tour if you’re visiting for the first time or if you have young children. (BTW, if you or your family members are claustrophobic or crowd-phobic or high-price phobic, do NOT go to Quincy Market!) Newport, RI is also simply lovely and only 2 hours from Boston. It would have been better without the rain, but lovely nonetheless. Bonus: We enjoyed one of our best beach experiences ever…in New Hampshire. What a nice surprise!
5. New England highway drivers really know how to use a passing lane. How I wish I could bottle up that knowledge and force every Pennsylvania and Ohio driver to drink it! New York and New Jersey drivers? Not so much — they make up their own rules of the road as they go. I lived in northern New Jersey for some time growing up and forgot just how nutty it can be to drive through the state (not a city like Connecticut). I flashed back to the first time my driving instructor said, “Now you’re going to merge onto Route 17.” Route 17, one of the most chaotic, neurotic roads leading to and through the shopping mecca (or hell, depending on your viewpoint) known as Paramus, NJ. Just like that! If you know the area, you know what I’m saying. Flashbacks.
6. Each summer “getting back into shape” starts off with a bang, but by this point my motivation is limping along rather than running full speed. (In fact, last summer I was literally limping along –my quest to get back in shape by jogging aggravated, or outright caused, a stress fracture in my toe. There’s motivation for you!) Joe and I try to get out and bike once in a while (like tonight) and we walk as much as we can, but ice cream and the occasional cold beer tempt us every step of the way. We’re weak, what can I say. Nothing new here; I just happened to realize that this is a pattern each summer, which brings me to…
7. No matter how much I love summer and want it to be all chillaxy, life’s stressors don’t go away. They don’t take a neatly planned vacation, which is unfortunate. We cause a lot of our stress ourselves, and acting like responsible grown-ups year-round is sometimes hard to swallow. (I know. Wah!) I guess if I can’t get rid of stress entirely I might as well embrace it with a little umbrella, beachy drink.
What have you learned this summer? Are you ready to get back to routine?