Giving Your Kids a 1970's Summer

This weekend, we visited friends in the North Fork, the laid-back waterfront towns along the top of Long Island, with rocky beaches, oyster stands and a giant carousel.

One night, Toby was passed out, but Anton wasn’t tired (is that child ever tired?), and he climbed out of bed and called downstairs while the grown-ups were having dinner.

“Mommy?”
“Yes, Anton?
“Um… so, what are you guys doing?”

It was so sweet and cheery and hopeful (you could basically hear his fingers cross) that we said he could come down and hang for a while. He ended up eating corn on the cob and watching the Yankees and staying up later than I did.

The scene — including the metal fan and cozy sofa — took me back to my own childhood, where we ran around like maniacs the entire summer. We lived in the Michigan suburbs and all bedtimes and rules flew out the window once school was out — just riding bikes, sneaking snacks, getting bored and reading books in that little space behind the sofa.

My sister and I were laughing the other day about how, one summer evening, my mom actually offered us $20 each (!!) (that’s basically a million dollars to a 10-year-old) to not talk all night. Just be silent. AND WE DID IT.

Did you ever see the post 10 Ways to Give Your Kids an Honest-to-Goodness 1970s Summer? A mother of four recommends sending kids outside, of course, but what made me smile was the other straight-chilling stuff she recommended:

    Let them watch TV. Plenty of it.
    Eat whatever you want, and/or whatever can find.
    Play this until you want to throw it against the wall, or smash into 1000 pieces. It’s the original train-your-brain app.

These last few weeks of summer, I just want to soak up the boys and go where the wind blows. I can’t let them loose around New York City at this age, but last night, we went for a walk as the sun set, and then stopped by Rite Aid to look at the toy cars (their favorite thing, beats any museum), and had scrambled eggs for dinner at 9 p.m. It was a lovely evening — and the best part was that they passed out as soon as their little heads hit the pillow.

I often wonder if I’m getting it right as a parent — should we live in the country? do I work too much? — but at times like that, sitting next to your child, eating corn on the cob late at night in the glow of a baseball game, it feels just right.

What have you been up to this summer? I’d love to hear… xoxo

P.S. My motherhood mantra, and trying out slow parenting.

(Photo from Instagram.)