Summer and Vacation

It’s summer. And we are back from our usual summer vacation in Nova Scotia. Actually, we came back last week, but it’s taken us a week to get our feet under us and get running again, if I am honest.

(Why is that? It’s like you need a vacation to recover from your vacation. I don’t get it. But I digress.)

This summer — and I hesitate to say it for fear of Montreal-ing* myself — has been pretty much perfect, weather-wise. We’ve had clear skies and perfect warm days, interspersed with some rainy ones and great storms — and we were out of town when this area got hit with blistering heat and humidity, so we missed that too!

And, for the first year ever, we have been able to recover our pool post-vacation! Normally, when we are gone for two weeks and the pool sits untended, it goes awry — the water turns green or murky or, one year, construction dust settled to the bottom of an otherwise clean and clear pool like a layer of clay, so swimming simply stirred it up and made it murky. But this year, it’s clean and clear and we’ve been able to swim upon our return. (Although the chlorine is out of whack so I have to figure out what to do about that.)

So we have really been enjoying our summer, swimming, sitting out in the sunshine, and the other evening, sitting out on the patio watching Netflix on the laptop. It has been lovely. Most summers, if the heat and humidity gets unbearable, I am ready for the summer to end long before September rolls around. This year, not so much. I want to keep enjoying this summer. For a couple more months, even.

Our vacation has been suitably busy, as work and therapy and homework continues. I feel bad sometimes, as Stinkerbelle does not get to enjoy a typical carefree summer vacation like I remember from my childhood. She has to do all these things, plus reading and schoolwork too. But then, childhood nowadays is not like when I was a kid. Most kids are involved in something over the summer, be it camps or daycare or sports, or even doing homework as we are. Nobody has carefree unstructured time as a kid anymore.

And, although I am willing to let her have that, she can’t. Because of her issues, if she does not put in the extra time reading and writing and doing math, she will be even further behind than she already is come school.

And even if I wanted to, I cannot let her simply go and play, unsupervised, as she has no real grasp of some of the basic safety rules. She does not remember from day to day what some of these rules are, or remember to apply them on the spot. She would not think, for example, to keep me informed if she were going into a friend’s house or yard to play. She would not think to say no if a friend were to lead her to do something that she shouldn’t. She would have no qualms about walking off with a stranger; she would certainly have no idea what to do if approached by one, despite all our efforts to teach her. She just can’t grasp or recall it.

Next year, I am hopeful that she will be old enough and savvy enough to go and participate in a summer activity camp or two, perhaps, but this year she is just not ready. So she stays at home with me, doing homework and swimming and playing occasionally with the neighbours. It’s not much fun for her.

This is why going to Nova Scotia is so important to her. Not only does she get to reconnect with her beloved Grammy and Grandad and aunties and extended family, but she gets two weeks of relative freedom. She can swim and play with her cousins and have sleepovers with her aunties and just generally be a normal kid. She doesn’t get a lot of that here.

And she loves it. This summer, she got to go to a zoo, and go shopping, and go TWICE for happymeals. She had a sleepover with her Auntie and Uncle who treat her like a princess. She got a mermaid tail blanket made specially for her by her Auntie who spoils her with gorgeous handmade things. She got to swim quite a bit, despite the uncooperative weather in Nova Scotia. And she got to have playtime with her cousins and visits with her older cousins. She got a visit from her recently married older cousin and his wife, who made her first wedding in Cuba in April an absolute treat. And she had some much-anticipated game time with her special oldest cousin, who takes time out of his busy week to come and play games just with her, and makes her feel special.

It really is a wonderful vacation time for her. And for us too.

But we are back at the grind now, which, given the lovely weather, is not so bad. We walked to visual processing therapy last week. Homework and reading earns That Girl various rewards, which include outings to some nearby places like the dollar store or the library or Tim Hortons for timbits. We’ve been for walks, visiting the park or the woods. We all got in the pool on the weekend, and had water gun fights when we were not floating on a giant inflatable happy face.

We’d like to go far afield this week and find someplace rural to watch the Perseid meteor shower, weather permitting. I dream of the beach or Manitoulin or cottage country, but in reality, for one night, a farm laneway or a conservation area would do perfectly well. Anything farther would cost too much money, aggravation, and time.

But it’s okay. This has been such a lovely summer — and if the forecast holds, this weekend will be lovely as well — I’d be perfectly okay with sitting out on the patio, watching episodes of Cosmos on the laptop and enjoying a tasty adult beverage. Probably see more stars, too.

_____

Montreal-ing — v. to Montreal oneself; to cause oneself to be Montrealed. Somewhat akin to “jinxing” oneself. This comes from a vacation years ago in which we drove to Nova Scotia with our friends Jeff and Sandra. At that time, there was no way around Montreal; you just had to drive through it. And it was hellish. It was to be dreaded. But that year, for whatever reason, the drive through Montreal was surprisingly traffic- and construction-free. We were shocked. We were just about through, when Sandra piped up and said, “You know, this is great! Montreal is not bad at all!” At which point we came around a bend and into gridlock for two hours. So, we all facepalmed and asked, “WHY? WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT? WHYYYYYYYYY.” Sandra exclaimed, “I am SUCH AN ASSHOLE!” And thus, the phrase “being Montrealed” was born.