My son is out of preschool for the summer, which means my precious daytime to myself is gone. It was nice while it lasted, but those special days are no more. Gone til September are the days when I could get work done, clean the house and/or yard, or simply decompress with time spent in quality solitude. From here until September, straight through with no breaks save for conventions, it’s just me and my four-year-old son. All day.
This is going to be a real endurance test, physically speaking. He’s got the boundless energy of a four-year-old. He doesn’t take daytime naps anymore. Whenever we come back from a long outing, he immediately turns to me and asks, “Where are we going now, Daddy?” He’s a happy little guy whose four-year-old tantrums are pretty minimal, but even under those near-ideal conditions, this is going to be a marathon of a summer.
I’m also feeling a strange, paternal pressure this year. My son isn’t a baby or a toddler. He’s a little boy. I can see him starting to make memories, and summertime memories can be among the most precious a child can have. There’s a very strong chance he’s going to remember this summer, and it’ll be up to me to make sure those memories are treasured. It will be up to me to plant the seeds of favorite summertime activities and places to visit, that he’ll grow up with and (hopefully) remember fondly into his formative years. “I remember going to ______ with my dad every summer.” He’ll say that one day. It will be up to me to make sure that’s a happy statement. No pressure.
But I’m not foolish enough to think I’m alone in all this. I’m already setting up play dates with his classmates from the school year. We’ve got a couple of weekend family trips planned. There’s a lot of parental pressure on my shoulders this summer, but I’m not going to bear the entire burden alone. Family and friends are there to have your back.
Despite all this, I’m looking forward to this summer. Like I said, he’s a little boy now. It will be interesting to spend this time with this version of my son.