As the spring season blooms in Colorado, I find myself drawn to the garden. The irresistible pull of nature keeps me out there for hours, engaged in the never-ending cycle of growth and renewal. Memorial Day just passed, and it was a beautiful day – a day for remembering and expressing gratitude to all the amazing veterans for their service.

This week let’s talk about the anticipation of summer and the challenges it brings with kids getting out of school. As a working, single mom, I remember the struggles of arranging camps for my daughter to fill her summer days. It was a constant juggle, always trying to create something for her to do while I worked.

Reflecting on my own childhood summers growing up in Mississippi brings a wave of nostalgia. We enjoyed pretty free summers. There were summer camps, sure, but mostly we were just hanging out – going to the pool, riding our bikes in the neighborhood. Our parents trusted us, and we had the freedom to just be kids. It was a different time – a time before cell phones and constant connectivity.

Contrasting this with today’s reality is startling. Most kids, starting around the age of 12, have cell phones. We’re tracking them, constantly knowing where they are. For me, this created a lot of anxiety. When I wasn’t in touch with my daughter, I panicked. It’s funny how I got used to this constant connection when I hadn’t had it growing up.

As we head into summer, I encourage all parents to try a little practice. Try to relax a bit around the structure that you feel you need to create for your kids. In my experience, summer was a crazy time to hang out with friends. We were bored many times, but out of that boredom, we created shows, wrote music, performed, and had all kinds of fun.

The world has changed, and perhaps neighborhoods aren’t quite what they used to be, but there are ways to bring back some of that freedom. Maybe it’s one day a week, or maybe it’s on the weekend, when things are just allowed to be as they are – no structure, just hanging out. Everybody lives to their highest values. They choose what brings them pleasure, and joy, and see what it’s like to just have that summer freedom.

Remember, summer is about freedom and relaxation. As we approach the end of the school year, I challenge you to bring some consciousness to having at least one or two days where you just chill out and everybody gets to just hang out and just be in the summer.