I’ve been handling summer vacations with kids for long enough to see there’s a pattern.

June comes around and a combination of spring/summer sports and school year fatigue produces a kid that’s at once so suddenly lost without the routine, and yet so happy to be off the wheel of the Daily Grind that they’re willing to grudgingly accept your pathetic attempts to replace it with one of your own.

Spring sports tend to wind down at the end of June, though, and once July hits, the summer is officially in full swing. The days are full-on hot, and the summer social schedule of picnics and cookouts has kicked in, along with holidays, state & county fairs, and concentrated efforts to find some place to swim that’s neither budget-breaking nor life-threatening. Summer camps are in bloom and you’ve finally gotten the hang of coordinating playdates and sleepovers around vacation schedules.

But July winds down soon enough, and you may notice that as August looms, the anxiety about new grades and new teachers may start showing itself. In the form of sibling fights. These days, my two wake up in the morning and start squabbling as soon as their eyes are open. They take it downstairs, over breakfast, and back up to the playroom, or in front of the TV, or outside, or on errands. It doesn’t stop until they’re physically separated, or Mom goes on a rampage and starts calling for a cleaning binge (then, they disappear and go radio-silent. It’s like they’ve had ninja training, I swear).

August is when fall sports start up, or for us, our vacation season. Family reunions, mini-vacations to relatives’ houses or local regional haunts, and school prep combined with the perpetual fight to keep my kids in pants that don’t look like they’re waiting for a flood. The bitter squabbling will turn bittersweet as their whole world begins to reflect the winding down of Endless Summer Fun. Their focus will turn from squabbling to hoarding their remaining days towards the execution of those big summer plans that so fired them up for spring.

And if you’re a lucky parent, you can guide some of that motivation into getting ready for the school year, so that in June, you can do it all again.

My short contemporary romantic comedy, Forever Material, is about a Dating Diva who finds the right kind of Mr. Wrong. It’s on Summer Sale for $3.49 at the major retailers.

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She’s absolutely sure he’s not the marrying kind…

He’s absolutely sure she’s right…

But he’s still going to prove her wrong.

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