Time for the Happy Dance?

Julia Garstecki-Derkovitz
Julia Garstecki-Derkovitz

While calendars insist January is the first month of the year, parents and school age children know the year actually begins on the first day of school. When summer vacation ends, I can’t decide if I want to do my happy dance or cry…perhaps I’ll do a little of both.

Summer in Chautauqua County is so exciting in the beginning. There’s a ton of new people invading our restaurants and stores; you boat/swim/go to the beach as often as possible, eat outdoors, take field trips to Midway Park, and revel in homeworkless glory. Summer camps and soccer games and boating classes and driving ten hours for the annual summer vacation come with a flourish and suddenly you think, “Hey?! What happened to those lazy days of summer?” and promise yourself that August will be more relaxing.

And what happens? You go from full throttle to glorious nothing. Of course, this takes time getting used to.

Boy: What are doing tomorrow, Mom?

Me: Nothing.

Boy: But what are we doing?

Me: Nothing. We are doing nothing. A day of no plans. To do whatever you want.

Boy: I want to go to Darien Lake.

Me: That’s not nothing. That is a plan. We are doing nothing.

The next day…

Them: We don’t know what to do.

Me: Play with your ramps. Play with your Barbies. Play with your marble ramp thingies. Play with your dolls. Play a game.

Them: I don’t want to.

Me: Perfect! Let’s bag up all of those toys and give them to children who don’t have any.

Them: Nooooooo! I love my toys. I just don’t want to play with them now!!

Note to self: Do not forget this at Christmas. Do not forget this at Christmas. Do not forget this at Christmas.

Me: Then get outside. Go run. Go swing. Kick the soccer ball. Play tag.

Them: We don’t want to go outside.

Me: Then play with your toys.

Outside they went, for a whopping five minutes at first. But the more I kicked them out, the more they got the hang of it. And I’d hear them fighting, and I’d hear them laughing, and they’d come in completely filthy and smelly, the way kids are supposed to during the summer.

Then, poof! Summer’s over. Just like that. Just when they were getting the hang of doing nothing. And now they’re going to be away from me all day….like I said…I don’t know if I want to dance or cry!

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Julia was born and raised in Rochester, Michigan. After receiving her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from Michigan State University, she moved to Houston, Texas to teach fourth grade. That didn't last long, as she married soon after and became a western New Yorker. After working at The Boys and Girls Club in Dunkirk as the Education Coordinator and working in the Special Education Department at Chautauqua Lake High School, she found her way to Bemus Point Elementary School. While teaching fourth grade at BPE, she completed her Masters Degree in Reading Education and became an adjunct professor at SUNY Fredonia in the Education Department. After having two children, Julia decided to stay home, though she currently works as a Student Supervisor for SUNY Fredonia in the Education Department. This allows her to still work in area schools, while having the flexibility to be home with her son and daughter. Recently she decided to give her passion for writing a try and has found success writing for regional parenting magazines and national anthologies. In her spare time she attends classes at Buffalo State College, completing her certification in Special Education.JuliaGarstecki.com |Facebook