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On The Fence

Bobby Leach "The Rooster" | 5/27/2015, 1:39 p.m.
I can remember a time when my kids were younger and entertaining the passing thought of year round school days ...
Bobby Leach

I can remember a time when my kids were younger and entertaining the passing thought of year round school days when the summer vacation started as is the case for most parents now as the school year is officially coming to a close and the kids will be staying home until fall. I know for our family especially my wife, this time of year was always welcomed with a hint of sarcasm and always added some stress to our grocery budget and overall patience as the serenity of a quiet home during the week was about to change.

Looking back on those years for me personally, I have to admit that while my stress levels may have risen a tad, summer time afforded me the opportunity to spend more quality time with my kids and at times allowed me to act like a kid with them. The trick to a great summer for my family was to include some learning opportunities along the way disguised as vacation trips like visiting the zoo, historical sites or day trips to Chicago to catch the planetarium and the museums always with the thought that while fun, there still was an educational purpose to them and normally it didn't break the bank.

In addition to scheduling activities, athletics always took a front row seat to our planning. Believe it or not, most athletes have very little time off in the summer especially if they are playing a high school or collegiate sport. The amount of practice required in the summer for these athletes can be very demanding but required if the goal is to actually play. Regardless of all the challenges the summer vacation season may bring for parents, there will come a time when most parents would give anything to go back and do it all again as is the case for me today.

My daughter will graduate from high school this weekend and will head off to college in the fall. There are no practice schedules to honor this summer, no worry of how many juice boxes and frozen treats we have on hand to think of and sadly, no car pooling schedule to create. I suppose this summer my wife and I will be less stressed with the daily grind but ironically wishing we were planning for all of the above instead of planning what to do next.

This weekend as I watch my daughter receive her diploma I will likely be thinking of all the teams she played with, coaches she played for and school colors she has worn and feel nothing but gratitude for all that helped shape her personality and guided her into the young woman she has become. If memories are gold, I would have to say without hesitation that I am a very wealthy man. Congratulations to all of the graduates and for all the parents out there preparing for a hectic summer, enjoy every moment.