School is almost out for the summer here. Students are thinking about summer camps, vacations or jobs. Parents are thinking about keeping children/teenagers occupied and out of trouble! I remember when I was in junior high and high school and spending lots of time outside. We would ride our bikes all around town, spend the whole day with best friends and kids from next door. We would climb up the side of the overpass just after dark, sit there and talk for hours. Mom and Dad knew we were close enough to hear them and they also knew we would be home by curfew. We made popsicles out of Kool-Aid, slept late, fixed black midnight cake for breakfast every morning, until Mom said "No more!" We spent time at a lake where my grandparents had a house, water skiing, swimming, playing cards or dominos till way after midnight and loving it - even when Daddy broke the table playing Spoons! We also had to take turns planning and preparing meals, doing laundry, helping keep up the house. We never gave a thought of being forced labor or abused or anything of the sort. We just knew we were supposed to help but still had time to enjoy the summer.
I stayed out of the workforce for about 9 years while our children were growing up. Those summer months were precious to me as we just got to hang out, go to the pool or spend time with grandparents. Since I was not working, the kids and I took several trips to grandparents while my husband had to work. It never fazed me to get in the car and start driving even if we were 10 hours away (which we were in Nebraska). I enjoyed the drive and enjoyed the time with my children. We also did some camping though only for weekends. We also took our children to Colorado and New Mexico for some fun times.
Now my children are pretty well grown - in fact there will be a granddaughter this summer - so they do not want to go with us as much anymore. That's okay as that is the way the cycle is supposed to work. Maybe we can go sit on the overpass and just talk for hours - what do you think, Panhandle? Or hike to the Lighthouse and spend the night - summer nights camping out are the best in our area!