A few days before the school year ended, I discovered a list in my daughter’s backpack. At the top, her kindergarten teacher had typed “10 Things I Want to Do This Summer,” and below were the ten activities my daughter had written. As I read down the list, I smiled at the sweet simplicity of her summer plans, phonetic spelling and all:


When I looked over her paper a second time, I realized that my daughter had created the perfect checklist for us to use as a family fun guide this summer. In fact, my husband suggested hanging it on the refrigerator and checking things off as we do them. The first activity we did when school let out was #1. Yes, we went to the beach.


There aren’t any oceans even remotely close to where we live, but we do have lakes. And so, on the first weekend of summer vacation, we packed the car with towels, snacks, water bottles, sunscreen, and toys, then drove twenty minutes to the closest of The Finger Lakes. It was an ideal day, not too crowded and not too hot. My daughter and I waded into the water together while my husband and son played with remote-controlled dinosaur cars on the shore. As my feet sank into the soft and sandy bottom of the lake, I remembered being my daughter’s age all of a sudden. The scent of lake water mixed with sunscreen took me back to all the summer Sundays I spent playing with my cousins two states away. Those were such good days, the kind I wished would never end. As I tucked my children into bed that night, I knew the day we had just spent at the beach was a good one, too. I want them to enjoy their childhood summers as much as I did mine, and I think we’re off to a good start. Tonight at dinner, we went down my daughter’s list, and so far we’ve already checked off five of the ten items! I’m sure we’ll do all of them and many more, in fact. How about you? What’s on your “10 Things I Want to Do This Summer” list?!?


From me to you, here and now…