Returning to the Nest (6/19/13)

Extra vacation time ahead for local students

As a parent of two students, my calendar operates on the school year schedule with June as my year-end instead of December. This time of year, exhausted parents of school-age kids can attest that June trumps December’s parties, presents and pageantry.

The close of the school year sparks a surge of year-end activities and puts parents in a panic to attend a plethora of classroom parties, sports banquets, award ceremonies and graduation celebrations.

Weary parents finally crawling across the finish line into summer might be surprised to find an extra two weeks of vacation on this year’s school calendar.

Students in the Capistrano Unified School District see their vacation jump from the traditional 10 weeks to 12 as a result of furlough days—students ended the school year earlier (June 11) and start the next school year later (September 9).

CUSD students embarked on their summer vacations last week, but tomorrow marks the official onset of summer. The summer solstice on June 21 occurs when the sun reaches its furthest point from the equator providing the most hours of daylight, or our longest day of the year.

The extra sunshine signals the start of the summer season and signs pop-up in our neighborhood as my street converts to an obstacle course of basketball hoops, skateboard ramps and lemonade stands.

While my younger son begins his vacation, my older son completed his freshman year of college last month and arrived home a few weeks ago to spend the summer.

Navigating the road of young adulthood comes potholed with challenges, but so far his first summer home we’ve managed to compromise on most matters – except sleep.

I anticipate my older son finding it difficult to adjust to the additional hours of daylight ahead. In the year since he graduated high school, he transformed into a creature of the night.

The kid who enrolled in zero period at San Clemente High School for four solid years, and sat in a classroom with pen and paper ready to go when the bell rang at 6:40 a.m., now can’t seem to pry his head off the pillow before noon.

His day begins when dusk falls. He spends his nights seeking out pool parties, sporting events, midnight movies, and avoiding garlic cloves and holy water.

In his defense, he worked hard during his freshman year and after surviving fraternity rush and finals week, I’m happy to see him getting some much needed sleep.

We’re both much more relaxed this month as compared to last June’s pomp and circumstance. A year ago when he graduated, I dissolved into a bundle of nerves.

As his college departure date loomed closer, I became a basket case and convinced myself he’d never be home again. I marked every family occasion, including our “last” lunch at his favorite restaurant and our “last” night together at home—in hindsight, I may have overreacted just a bit.

A year later, I’m happy to report the bird does fly home to the nest for summer. Especially if the nest is outfitted with their comfortable queen size bed, a bathroom shared with only one sibling and hot food that doesn’t resemble anything found in a cafeteria meal plan.

The prison-like conditions of a tiny dorm room also did wonders for his outlook. My son’s actually looking forward to our annual summer vacation—the same one he routinely moaned and groaned about being forced to endure against his will.

Soon, I’ll be spending the extra two weeks of vacation with my boys while savoring sandy beaches, saltwater shores—and every moment.

In the blink of an eye, summer will slip away and another school year will start bringing with it backbreaking schedules and heart-breaking goodbyes.

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