Three more weeks and the kids return to school. Considering how fast summer has passed, this seems like a reasonable amount of time. But, having learned from years past, I know that time will begin to slow down now.
Over the next few weeks I will hear, “I’m bored” more times than I care to hear it. I will have to remind my children that their legs actually work and they are not physically glued to the couch. I will have to resort to unplugging the television or flipping the breaker to convince them the television is not working and going outside is theireonly choice to beat the boredom.
These are the weeks when that early summer vacation comes back to bite us. Time is dragging, their friends are taking their late summer vacations and everybody in the house is just a little crankier than they were last week.
It is also the time of year I begin to realize how much I will miss the kids when they go back to school. The time of year I want to spend more time with them, soaking in the memories while they are still with me every day. This is even more the case this year as one is set to enter his senior year, one will begin high school and my baby, my beautiful little bonus baby will enter kindergarten.
So, what will we do with these final days? How we will beat the final days of summer boredom? How will I use the time to spend quality hours with my kids? And how can we incorporate a little fitness into the mix as well?
With my brood and the age differences it is a little more difficult. We can do family hiking trips in Western Maryland. We can head to Ocean City for an afternoon of beach fun. We can go treasure hunting with the Geocaching app I bought earlier in the year. And we will do some of these things. But because of the age differences, I have found a new way to time with my children.
I have created fitness dates with each of my children. By spending time one on one with each of my children, I can create a fitness date that works for their individual strong suits.
My older son hates heat and he can’t stand bugs but he likes biking. So he and I will spend time together first thing in the morning on the B&A Trail, biking from the BWI Loop to Annapolis and back. He doesn’t think of this as quality time with his mom and he often grumps at me when I drag him from his bed before the heat of the day. But as the ride progresses, he becomes chatty. He shares his thoughts on the upcoming year, his search for colleges and his hopes for his future. As we near the end of the ride, he picks up his pace, so I pick up my pace, he picks it up a little more and we race for home.
My middle child, the daughter who is always happy to do anything fitness related, is a little easier to please. Together we will run through Downs Park, always stopping at the dog beach in hopes of watching the dogs splashing around. We will hike through the trails at Anne Arundel Community College, take a trip to Patapsco State Park or best of all we will kayak. As a fellow writer, Megan is wonderful at falling into deep silences, watching the water’s edge for wildlife and enthusiastically pointing them out to me.
My youngest is easier still. A playground, even the most meager playground offers hours of entertainment. He is still young enough to love his mommy more than anybody in the world and laughs big belly laughs as we swing and slide and run and play.
The benefits of fitness dates with my children are endless. They help break the boredom. They break the pattern of sitting that has inevitably set in this late in the summer. The exercise releases endorphins making all of us a little less cranky. And best of all, they give me the opportunity to spend one on one time with my children. They allow me to focus on what is going on in their minds without having anybody get lost in the mix.
The last weeks of summer offer me an opportunity. They give me the chance to hold them a little closer, enjoy them a little longer and get to know them a little better as they grow and change.