It’s summer here. School is out. And it’s a ghost town.
Where is everyone? The streets and yards are quieter than they are even during the school year. I know there are plenty of people on vacation, since I’ve been seeing their vacation photos on social media. And my kids and I just returned from visiting family for a week. But we’ve been home a week, and have seen kids on our street once. Once!
After school when the weather is nice there are often kids out playing, riding bikes, and running up and down the street. Is everyone at the pool? Or are they all at day camps? We can’t even find friends to make plans with. It feels super lonely and I start to get anxious that they’re avoiding me. I’m not one to have FOMO, but I’m finding that the lack of seeing any families home during the day is making me feel like we’re really missing something.
My kids don’t want to do camps, or anything structured, really. They want to play, and swim, and watch tv, and go creeking, and go fishing. And I do my best to honor that. I’m not up for working on our separation anxiety all summer. For my kids and for me, summer gives us a much needed break from that ever present situation.
I guess I really need to step up and get into planning mode. If I don’t line up outings with friends, my kids don’t have anyone to play with except each other. They really need to see some other people. But planning is easier said than done. Most everyone has their schedules full of lessons, camps, and other structured activities, and they aren’t even available to make plans to head to the creek or the pool.
I know there are parents out there who would love their kids to have unstructured time and aren’t able due to work schedules. And I know many camps give kids lots of time for free play and summer fun. My husband and I work opposite hours for childcare reasons, and so I do know a lot of people home during the day with kids, because it’s when I’m home with kids. And all our usual people are missing.
I remember feeling the same way last summer. It makes me feel like I really haven’t met my people yet, and that gets into a lot of complicated issues about who I am and who my kids are that are a bit much for this post. But I’m still lonely.