Military mama: Family ready for summer

Spring fever is heating up as we near the summer months. Soon, school will be out. The streets will be littered with kids on bikes, running through sprinklers and the sound of ice cream trucks will raise their hopes and empty your wallet.

I have been out of school for quite some time now, but every May I get that familiar itch. The sense of upcoming freedom. My role as a parent doesn’t actually bring days off, in fact the summer months bring on unique challenges of finding activities suitable for my oldest and my twins. Instead of vacation, I actually work overtime when it heats up. The age group gap is a difficult chasm sometimes. The big kid playground is always separated from the tiny tots area, just enough to make a mommy uneasy.

Summer is a time for fun and excitement. It is also a really important time to be extra vigilant. So many adventurous opportunities also have the potential for injury. Am I encouraging you to hang out on the couch playing video games all day? Not a chance! But we do certainly have to keep a little closer eye on the wee ones (and often times an even closer eye on the big ones with the big toys!) Unfortunately we may end the summer with a few stitches or a cast, but we have spectacular memories to go along with these souvenirs.

Swimming pools and slip ‘n slides still have the same appeal to me now that they had when I was a kid. I simply look a little sillier working on my cannonball and diving onto wet plastic these days. Summer sports leagues, day camps and vacations are much more fun when you are the participant rather than the chauffeur. But with enough scheduling, it is possible to balance the needs and wants of all old enough to voice their opinions.

There is a wonderful lunch program that provides a balanced meal each weekday at no charge to the parents. There are many locations throughout town and on base. I really encourage all of the families out there to take advantage of this program at least every once in a while. It is a great opportunity to get out and have a picnic while mingling with other parents. It’s a wonderful chance for the kids to meet one another and run off some energy.

As school lets out, let’s not forget that there are still intellectually stimulating opportunities out there for all. Hit the library, check out the local museums and monuments. There is an interesting history to this area, and I promise if you approach the summer with a healthy sense of curiosity and a yearning for discovery there will always be plenty to do.