Disclosure: I'm a #TalkEarly ambassador. All thoughts and opinions are my own. "Mami, I think everyone should get the summer off. Why can't you?"
These words were said a couple of days before summer break began after I was asked about what we would be doing on the first day of summer vacation.
MADAM! I still gotta work!
Planning for the summer can be stressful for us. Last year, I had surgery and the bulk of the summer was spent with me recovering and feeling guilty. She did not want to go to camp and apparently, this is a trend. She's home with me this summer again, y'all. Send help! And snacks.
My girl Erica created a meme after her son called her to ask if there was something else to eat after he'd already eaten and when I tell you this is part of my summer, I am NOT lying!
The kid isn't enthused at the thought of camp. I'll be honest, I don't blame her. After last year's shenanigans, my girl went to a new school with fantastic teachers. She also managed to spend half of her class time immersed in Spanish language everything. I know how I used to feel in the summer time. Exhausted. I'm trying not to push too much these days. So I let her lounge (though I gave her vocabulary test this morning).
My childhood summers were spent in the Dominican Republic plotting lazy days, praying for the power to come back so I could watch TV, hunting for fruit flavored ice pops and stuffing my face with mangos and limoncillos.
We have dubbed this the summer of adventure. And with everything going on in the world, I'm trying hard to be present for my kid.
This has meant new books, new routines, to do lists, shuffling of work and figuring out when we are meeting up with friends!
My girl is an extrovert and she makes friends everywhere. But if we are not consistently going to camp, where will we meet friends? Following in the footsteps of her mama, she met a friend online.
Before you call DCF on me, hear me out. Aaronica (from The Crunchy Mommy) and I put our girls in touch with one another via email. Within 2 days, I'd received a chat request from Mini for the Frog Princess. I accepted and what has ensued is hilarity in and of itself. My kid is now connected to her dad, her titi Q and me along with Mini. And we are bombarded with emojis on a regular basis. I've had to institute a 5 emoji max, y'all. The struggle is real.
But listen, this has given me a way to help her learn typing (she uses typingclub.com for lessons) AND I've been able to pull her misspelled words on her messages for use as our vocabulary words and subsequent test tomorrow (she doesn't know she's getting one yet. Surprise!).
Mini and the Frog Princess have decided to be BFF's and I die at the cuteness of their Q&A's.
New friends are great but I'm here to tell you that around these parts, summers belong to "old" friends too. My girl's BFF is still very present in her life even though they are going into their 3rd school year apart. Her social calendar looks better than mine and I'm going to Essence Fest this summer! Sheesh.
Not only are we still tight with her BFF but, her favoritest cousin and first BFF is coming for a visit in a few weeks. He has been living in Japan with his mom for the last couple of years and my girl misses him so much. They were born 10 days apart and spent the better part of their days up until a couple of years ago together.
We literally plan around him being home. During that time, all she wants is to spend time with him and no one else. I think it's important to give her space to spend time with people she loves. And I love that she likes to clear her calendar. Here they are on their first time seeing each other and their last before he went back to Japan last summer.
Me and Her
"Mami, I want to hang out with you."
"Mami, can we talk?"
These are constant questions that come forth at the house. In the first 3 weeks of vacation we have had so many deep conversations. About her grief and missing my mom, a bit of what's going on in the world, and believe it or not, we've talked about alcohol.
She recently had some questions about alcohol that her dad and I tried our best to navigate through. We talk about it, we tell her if we need to get more information and then we usually head on over to Responsibility.org for some facts/figures. I feel better knowing I have a resource I can turn to. And I feel good that we have started these conversations early.
As she grows and creates her own circle of friends, it is my hope that she can share some of what she has learned from us, in all areas of life. I've intentionally tried to create an environment of trust with her so that she is comfortable talking about any subject (yeah, we've already had the birds and the bees talk!) and trusts that I will give her a clear and accurate response.
We've dubbed this the summer of adventure but with parenting, every day seems like we take on a new road. I'm glad for organizations and programs like #TalkEarly that help us along the way.