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“All Hail the Summer Entertainment Director”

Lazy days of nothing much at all? Not in our house. Here, summer is one adventure after another, all strung together with care and coupons by one resourceful Mom.

It’s the middle of the night, and the light from Laurie’s lamp wakes me up. I see her clicking away on her phone, and writing something in a notebook. “What are you doing?”

“Next month, I signed up the kids for a Vacation Bible School across town and I’m looking for coupons for ice cream shops in the area.”

I think I say something like, “that’s nice,” and then roll over and fall back asleep.

The next morning, she’s awake before everyone else, looking through which Facebook community groups accepted her Follow requests. Meanwhile I look at my phone and see 47 calendar notifications.

When the kids wake up, she announces, “I’ve got the whole summer planned out.” Under her arm is the notebook, which looked brand new yesterday and is now fully weathered. She opens the notebook and tells us, “Ok! Let me show you what I’ve done. In the first pocket is all the coupons the kids got for their report cards and perfect attendance. Now we’re going to get more coupons when the kids complete the reading logs from the library programs I signed them up for. I can’t remember I signed them up for three different programs or four.”

[Special ADDitude Collection: Summer Learning Ideas for Kids with ADHD]

A couple of the kids groan, but Laurie’s either too tired to notice or too in her zone to care. So she continues. “Next are the calendars for June, July, and August. I found several free Vacation Bible Schools, and I found days when the zoos and museums are having Dollar Days, and here are the kids’ camps. So starting with June: next Friday is National Flip Flop Day, and I found a smoothie place doing free smoothies for everyone wearing flip flops…”

She goes on and on for several minutes. This is what Laurie does. Whether it’s a birthday party or a three-day weekend, if there’s an opportunity to find some fun, then that’s when Mom goes to work.

Back when the kids were younger, I freaked out a little bit. “How the heck are we going to pay for all this?”

“Don’t worry,” she said. “I can’t wait to tell you about all the deals I got!”

“But how are we going to have time for all this?”

“Honey, if we don’t do these things the kids are going to spend all summer watching television.”

[Free Guide to Choosing the Perfect Camp for Your Child]

She clearly has this under control, and I’m only getting in the way. She’s proven over and over again that, with just a few bucks, she can accomplish a lot for a family of six. She works tirelessly to plan fun things. Then at the fun things she takes a hundred pictures, and stays up all hours posting the pictures on her wall and responding to friends and acquaintances who are asking how she pulls this stuff off.

“You gotta get some rest,” I tell her.

“Honey!” she responds. “It’s only for the summer!”

I knew darn well this would be her response. She couldn’t sleep if she tried. And it will be the same thing in the fall with back-to-school preparations, Halloween costumes, the Thanksgiving dinner menu, and Christmas presents. Meanwhile, I sleep great knowing whatever she has planned for us tomorrow is going to be awesome.

[The Creative Mom’s Guide to Hands-On Summer Learning]