But What About These?

On the first day of school for the new school year, Shane got his shower before Dylan got out of bed. Shane had his clothes out the night before, chosen with care weeks ago. He was dressed and brushing his hair before Dylan even got out of the bathroom.

Dylan raced downstairs with only three minutes for breakfast. He scarfed down some oatmeal, put his strawberries in his pocket, grabbed his cell phone and his coffee and headed out the door for the bus stop. I totally forgot to give him his hard-boiled egg.

Shane made his own breakfast, because I wasn’t ready for him when he got downstairs. He was finished eating 15 minutes before we needed to leave. He remembered to wipe the table, put his lunch into his brand new backpack, got his picture taken – then stopped.

“There’s one more thing I have to do before we leave,” he said. Shane went into the office and paged the calendar back to June. “I have to find out what I did all summer, so when people ask me, I can tell them.”

It was quiet in the office for a minute while Shane browsed. We’d spent four days a week with four-hour “no electronics” restrictions – so we’d scheduled things to compensate for our electronics “loss.”

“What are you finding?” I asked.

“I was the mascot a lot,” he said, referring to his many nights dressed as a baseball-loving dog. “And I went to camp, Shakespeare in the park, met Mary Downing Hahn, and hung out with my friends and my cousins. And in the last two weeks, I’ve gone to a water park and an amusement park.”

He didn’t mention our kayaking trip, our hours and hours of family board games, our two trips to upstate New York, his volunteer stints at two different schools, our weekly at-home movie nights, or the Renaissance Festival – which we’d just done the day before school started. And….

“You’ve done a lot of stuff,” I said. “But what about these?”

I took some papers off of our refrigerator, with two dozen pictures of summer activities. Shane and Dylan had specifically chosen the things they wanted to do during vacation – most of which we’d actually accomplished.

In addition to what Shane found on the calendar, we saw five movie matinees, went swimming, went out for ice cream (too many times to count), fed the ducks, visited the grandparents, mini-golfed, went to the park, had a picnic, and visited the Corn Beef King food truck. We had a campout in the backyard, went to the National Zoo, visited an interactive art museum and went tubing down the Shenandoah River.

Dylan also went to music camp, toured D.C. three times (on segways and on foot), started learning to drive, spent a week repairing a house in the Appalachian Mountains, worked as an usher at an outdoor concert venue, and started his fall touring of select colleges.

But Shane didn’t do any of those things – so he saw a few extra movies, mini-golfed again, and went to a ping pong tournament, Adventure Park and the Newseum instead.

I was feeling sad about summer’s ending – until Shane reminded me how much we did.

To say the “no electronics” rule inspired us to do more would be an extreme understatement.

We may have done a little too much.

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