Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Another Summer

The Pointer Sisters covered Santa Claus is Coming to Town for the first A Very Special Christmas album way back in the late ‘90’s. At the opening of the song, they say “Another year has gone by.” More and more, that line keeps running through my head as we keep hitting those yearly milestones again and again each year.This time around, it’s another year of school ending for Erin, and another June that has arrived, which means another summer of Hersheypark and the second year of setting up our small pool. Another summer of dealing with ants in the house and finding toads and snakes out in the back yard. Another summer that I am sure will feel that it went by way too fast. But at least for right now, there are those fun times we still have the opportunity to look forward to. Those times when we can finally take a breather from the grindstone and sit back to relax for a change.

Going to Hersheypark is one of those annual family traditions that come Hell or high water we feel we need to keep going. It’s unfortunate that our ability to take those days trips is going to be much more limited this year than in years past, but it’s that one thing we can look forward to each year as our deserving reward for all the blood and sweat we put in to our jobs year in and year out, and for all the trials and tribulations Erin goes through each school year. That daily grind, day in and day out, 5 (sometimes 6) days a week, time spent away from each other and time and energy spent trying to earn enough to make sure we can pay the bills and put food on the table. It’s seems that whenever we manage to get ahead, something else happens to set us back again, even just a little bit. This time around, it’s the dog being diagnosed with Addison’s Disease. It’s something that John F. Kennedy had, and can be contracted by dogs as well, though it is rare, and rarer still in male dogs. Just our luck, it seems. It requires a daily pill, and a monthly shot that sets us back $150 each time (more if we were not giving Marley the shots ourselves). It just means we have to work a little bit longer and a little bit harder now to cover that additional expense. That’s just life in the real world, and another hurdle that has to be leaped.

But we have the summer. That really is the one time we can look forward to those couple of trips to Hersheypark to just be able to forget about everything else and enjoy the family time together. Obviously, in our line of work (retail) we can’t even count on the holidays. But it’s that one week of vacation and those couple of extra day trips we manage to squeeze in somehow that keep us going each year. Sometimes I wish we had the ability to just drop everything and go whenever we wanted to, but that’s life in the real world. We just keep looking forward to each summer when that opportunity presents itself once school comes to a close.

We managed to get our first trip in this past Monday, and, despite the heat, it allowed us the breather we needed from the grindstone of our daily responsibilities. A little breather for a few hours, at any rate. It was nice, though, now with Abby getting to the age where she can really appreciate the park and the rides. It made for great times and a few great videos I have to find the time to work on now. As relaxing as it was though, I still am reminded that there are others that are not as fortunate as we are. There are those others who don’t get the opportunity to go to an amusement park, or to the zoo, or to the aquarium, or to the beach, or even to a local playground. By nature of my involvement with Extra Life, I am always reminded or thinking about the kids who don’t have the chances that Erin and Abby have, of being able to get up and go to school every day, and of being able to have that experience and the experience of taking those all to rare family trips to relax together. I realize that even with our daily struggles, even when we have bad days at work, there are others who always have worse days. So I am thankful that, even if there are only a few days a year where we can truly escape the “real world” for a time that we do indeed have that ability given to us.

I am so glad for the Boo that her hard work has paid off and we can reward her with special occasions like this. I have to say that Erin might work harder than any of us. I was never a great student, and struggled with a lot of things with the exception of the liberal arts part (reading, writing, etc), or whatever it may be called now in the asinine “Common Core” age. But Erin really has put a lot of effort in this year to getting her work done and trying to improve her grades to make Second Honors. She takes a lot of the responsibility upon herself since the CC makes it difficult for pretty much any one with Common Sense to figure out how to answer some of the work that is brought home from school. Day in and day out she trudges along and manages to continue to succeed. With all the work she has done these last 9-odd months, she above all else deserves the reward of Hersheypark more than any of us. She has shown a genuine improvement in herself over the years, and I am so glad that we still have the ability to send her to the school we have chosen for her. It is truly making her a better person for the experience. I was never a big fan of school (really there probably few kids who are), but at the end of the day I wouldn’t have traded that experience in for any other. At the end of the day, it prepared me for dealing with the real world, and gave me the ability to be able to do what I do so I can give the same opportunities to Erin and Abby that my parents gave to me. I am so glad that we can continue the decades long tradition of making the family trips to Hersheypark one of those opportunities. The days spent at work and school make it worth so much more.