Monday, June 30, 2014

Our First Monday

Today felt like our first day of summer. Sure, I've been done school since Wednesday. Sam since the Monday before that. Caroline for two whole weeks. But it was our first day at home enjoying the summer routine. By the way, there's a dry-erase board for that whole routine thing:

If you were to ask Sam I think he'd tell you that a high point today was that two of his friends were here after swim lessons. A visit to the pool later today meant he ran into a lot of friends he hasn't seen in a few weeks. I'm not sure what Caroline would tell you her high point of the day to be, though I was proud to see her swim so well in the pool this afternoon.

I took Sam for my second bike trip through the neighborhood, and he enjoyed the rebellious trip through the private garage of Turbo Lofts, the apartment complex up near our church. I'm appreciative of how well he's taken to biking. It's nice to have a companion for my rides now.

My to-do list seems a bit too substantial. I'm helping a former colleague with a research project, so I spent some of today learning about a freedom fighter that many Americans haven't heard of before. That research, and surprise from school, kept me in more of a professional mood today than I expected. Still, the bike ride, a couple of runs, and a multiple-hour stint at the pool reminded me that it's summer, and I'm a dad.

Monday, June 23, 2014

This Blog Goes Live in Two Days

Summer begins in two days for me. So does this blog.

I don't normally edit blogs after I've published them. I began this blog on one of the first days of my summer as a way to record memories of my time with the kids this summer. I also started it up to help my wife, Sherry, keep track of what we were up to while she was away in Australia for a few weeks. The 13-hour time difference made it logical for me to post what we did on a given day and then allow her on the periphery of her day to see what we had done. 

"Summer of Fridays" refers to the way I have come to look at summers as a teacher. Teachers are often on the receiving end of jests about our summers away from work. Sometimes it's simple teasing, sometimes it's more biting jealousy. It's true that the prospect of summers away from work helped lure me into this profession. And I'm grateful to how teaching permits me to earn a living that supports my family and the dreams I have for my kids while allowing me eight, nine, or ten weeks to be at home with my children. 

Teaching is grueling work at times. Throughout the year I often have to say "Sorry, but I'm busy" to Sam and Caroline as I busy myself with grading or lesson design. As a teacher of Macroeconomics, I spend a lot of time reading the news (which I should be doing right now). For forty, forty-one, or forty-two weeks of the year I often have to ask for my kids' patience as I complete my professional duties. Summer is a time when I can, at least in part, make up for lost time with them. 

So, why the "of Fridays" part? Teaching for me means long hours. I typically work 10- or 11-hour days when the school year is active. Many people work compressed work weeks of 10-hour days within four-day weeks. I like to think that's what I do, I simply get all my Fridays off at one time. 

I want to return to the adjective I used a few paragraphs ago: grueling. Working with kids is intense. Children are growing up, and growing up is often messy. Messy behaviors tax patience, and it's good that we get time off from the work of teaching to gain perspective on the growing up process. It's also nice to have ten weeks in the summer to see how my own children are growing. 

And I'll leave it at that. Enjoy the record of what we did this summer, and I hope to resume this blog in 2015 during what, I hope, will be a slightly longer summer of Fridays. 

- August 30, 2014