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Aug 11, 2012
03:49 PM

No-cation Summer Gives Local Family Precious Memories

There wasn't money for fun trips – even the local fair. But these Washtenaw County parents gave their three young kids home moments they'll always remember.

No-cation Summer Gives Local Family Precious Memories

This summer the hubs and I have taken "staycation" to a whole new level – one I'll refer to as "nocation," who is actually a close friend of "brokecation." The latter has been staying at our house since the beginning of July. I'm ready for him to go home now. So many things we wanted to do this summer. Trips up north? Nope. Weekend at the lake? Nyet. Disney World? Yeah, right. We have been lucky to have enough gas to travel half a mile to Kroger for Pampers. No day camps for the kids, play dates or coffee dates for mommy, no bowling league with our friends, forget about date nights – those are a distant memory.

We are going through a rough patch, to say the least – and being the upbeat girl that I am, I realize that this summer is serving an invaluable lesson to our family. It is teaching us to simply sit still and be together. To work on little projects around the house, take bike rides, visit Grandma (a lot! Thank you, Grandma!), talk with each other, be frustrated with each other, spend endless amounts of time with each other and truly just be.

It is a hard thing to do in the time period we live in, where everyone and everything is connected and updated instantly. We are lucky that our children are 5, 4 and 1 year old, because they are still young enough to not understand or realize that they aren't doing soccer because we can't afford it, or that we can't take them to the local fair because we can't even afford parking – let alone cotton candy, pony rides, lemonade and all the other small things that add up.

Next summer will be different – it has to be. And when it is and we are able to provide all the extras that are nice to have but not completely necessary for survival, I hope we all will appreciate them that much more. In the meantime, I sit back and count my blessings. We have amazing friends who know what we're going through and are willing to do free things so we can still be included. We have grandparents on both sides who are a block away in each direction and always there to help in any way they can. We have a roof over our heads that we can still pay for, and cars to drive, clothes to wear and food to nourish us.

We have watched our 5-year-old overcome his fear of having water in his eyes and learn to hold his breath underwater. We have watched our 4-year-old speed around the neighborhood on the big boy bike he could barely get on last year, and we have witnessed our 1-year-old daughter wobble through her first steps. I know how lucky we are for all of this.

So, while our summer saga of 2012 does include a lot of doom and gloom and panhandling amongst relatives, it has had some of the most precious moments of our lives – and, for that reason, it will always stand out in my memory.

Next summer, however, I'm making my memories at Disney World.

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