With October imminently arriving, summer is long gone. Obviously we have exciting stuff like Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas to look forward to, but the disappearance of the warmer months leaves me a little glum. I don’t have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – well, as far as I’m aware. Instead, the source of my downhearted temperament lies more in the realms of parenting guilt.
Go back a few months and I had all of these grand plans as to what Toddler L and my summer would look like. There was nothing set in stone, but there was a vague notion of things to do, places to go and people to see. However, as I write this at the end of September, I look back and am left wondering whether it was a wasted summer. What did we actually do and did I make the most of it?
Obviously, we didn’t just sit in the house doing nothing. We did stuff. However, whether it’s my ageing memory or my focus on the things we didn’t do, I’m finding it difficult to recall just what we got up to day to day. We didn’t go to the local zoo. We didn’t go to the nature reserve. We didn’t visit the National Trust properties I’d earmarked. The list goes on.
In a way, it feels like we just ambled our way through summer in the same way that we ambled our way through the winter months before. Our days and weeks consisted of the same stuff – going to nursery, going to toddler groups, walking the dog, going to the park, having the occasional playdate and being at home.
We have fun doing this type of stuff, but the guilty part of my brain says “Is that all you did? Why didn’t you do more? The sun is now gone, you numpty.”. And I don’t really have an answer. I have excuses, just like I’ve written about before – we’re going to a toddler class so let’s not do something else, the weather doesn’t look great, we’re going out at the weekend so we’ll have a chill day etc.
I guess my mindset is ‘there’s always tomorrow’. And that’s the danger – tomorrow may never come (bet you’re singing Ronan Keating now). I don’t mean it in a morbid way – I’m not planning on going anywhere. I mean more that putting something off until tomorrow has meant that I now feel like we’ve missed out on summer as tomorrow was replaced with another tomorrow which was replaced with another tomorrow. The guilt kicks in as I question whether this has been to the detriment of Toddler L.
Why did we only go to the splash park once? Why did we only get the the paddling pool out twice? Why did we only have five barbecues? Why can I only remember buying three ice-creams from the ice-cream van? There’s probably reasons for all of these things, but it still makes me feel shit that we won’t have the opportunity to do any of this for at least another seven months. When I did have the opportunity, I grasped it like an uncoordinated toddler attempting to catch a ball. Pathetic.
Roll on summer 2018…or 2019…or 2020…