The Gift of Summer Break

By Allyson Tufts
Author, Speaker, and Passionate Hockey Mom

Can you believe it’s August already and Summer is flying by? The sun is shining and my winter coats are finally packed away. I love these days when supper moves from the kitchen to the back deck and flip flops are the footwear of choice. For many parents summer means a break, a break from making school lunches, from signing the never-ending forms that come home in the backpack, and a break from that dreaded schedule on the fridge. In some cases, this also tends to be a time when we as parents are trying desperately to plan the perfect summer vacation. There is nothing more stressful than trying to plan a fun getaway that your kids will enjoy that doesn’t have you going bankrupt in the process. When I was growing up my parents rented a small cottage on a little lake every year. Each cottage around us was filled with cousins that we’d wait all year to see for two weeks. It was a place to go to swim, catch frogs, play man hunt, and a place where the fridge schedule was nowhere to be found. Unfortunately, it was also a place with no running water and an outhouse. My Mother used to always say that for her, summer vacation was also a time to sit back, relax, reflect, and be thankful for the highs and lows of the last year. When I think of her raising nine kids and managing our school, hockey, and ball schedules I’m sure she had very little time to reflect on anything. I smile at the thought of her finally reaching that little old cottage on the first day of summer break. I can see the car door open and all of us running away in every direction. The moment when she sat on the end of the dock, feet dangling in the water, sun beating down on her face, whispering thank you to the air for another successful school year full of moments to cherish. As I sit typing away on my laptop on our dock at the cottage that smells like old wood and sunshine, I can’t help but think of all I’m thankful for. In our case hockey and baseball created amazing friendships for our family. I often wonder if we would have ever met these incredible people had we not stood next to them to cheer on our kids at the ball diamond or shivered next to them in the rink. Would I have known all these great ladies if we hadn’t sold raffle tickets together for our team’s fundraisers? Would my son have had such a bond with these boys had they not been teammates for so many years? Would my daughter have known these incredible girls who cheered her on, teaching her that it’s way more fun to build other females up than it is to tear them down? More importantly, would my husband and I have had the time with our kids that sports provided had it not been for these incredible moments.

Then it occurs to me, I guess if I’m going to look back and reflect on all I’m thankful for it wouldn’t hurt to reflect on what I could have done differently. Perhaps I shouldn’t have stood up and yelled “RUN!” when my daughter hit a fowl ball. Maybe yelling at the ref when he gave my son a penalty wasn’t the way to go either. So as the waves crash the side of the dock I tell myself, next season I’ll be better, next season I won’t put wine in my coffee cup, and next season I won’t make their experience about me. So, from one hockey, baseball, soccer, and dance Mom to another I wish you an incredible summer with your family. As my Mom used to say in that little old cottage that smelled like old wood and sunshine, “Take the summer to reflect back on the past year and be thankful for the moments it gave you.”

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This article is the property of Allyson Tufts and is not to be used or changed without her permission.