The Healthiest Thing We Did All Summer Was Eating Ice Cream
The summer started with a rush of excitement and energy. We created a bucket list that first day.
Feverishly, as though summer might slip away, we began checking off items. Zip lines. Beaches. Picnics. Trips into the city. Hikes. Weekends away. After the Fourth of July, the kids went to day camp for four weeks. During that time, we settled into a routine of late afternoon bike rides to a local ice cream place where we talked about their camp activities and the pure fun of their day. I told myself,
But we persisted.
Somehow July slid into August and my girls were back home again. But Mom Camp grew old fast. Much as we all loved the lazy mornings and lack of enforced bedtimes, what happened in between was often filled with the age-old whines of "What should we do?" and "I'm bored." There were full-blown sister fights. Anger over having to run errands to the grocery store. Jealousy over friends' vacation plans. And endless complaints whenever I attempted to secure a lifeline via cell phone to a good friend.
But the one enduring, positive and much-loved activity we did (nearly!) every day was to go on an afternoon bike ride where our destination was always the ice cream place. We left behind electronics and that claustrophobic feeling of being in the house on a summer day.
We left behind arguments and frustrations. And our dog, but only because he can't bike.
We changed up our route, exploring our neighborhood and streets we'd never seen. The girls grew to be confident bikers. We took turns leading these adventures and along the way shared discoveries and laughed about the silliest of things.
Now, here we are on the final stretch before September and the Fall, before the structured schedules and activities and events take over seemingly every last minute of our days. It was today, while on our ride, when I realized that the best part of our summer was this utterly unremarkable but sweet routine. Today, we cruised down the quiet streets, friends and neighbors gone until Labor Day. The air was slightly cool but felt great after riding up that final hill.
I sat and savored my mint chip on a sugar cone, watching both my girls so thoroughly in that moment, licking their sticky fingers and giggling. We chatted and were quiet, just people watching. I can't remember what we talked about, but it doesn't matter. It's already tucked away in my heart, more a feeling than a conversation.
I'm pretty sure my body is thanking me for all the biking, nearly(?) forgiving me all that ice cream. It was medicinal, really (truly!). So remember next year when you're planning your kids summer days, the best plans may be the ones you don't make at all.