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Summertime Memories are what Summers are Made For

If someone asks you what is one of your favorite childhood memories, it is likely your mind will be flooded with summer adventures, and you will automatically be consumed by nostalgia. I automatically start replaying the summer days I spent at the cruise ship dock with my dad and siblings.  We would stop to get the cheesiest pizza from “Frenchtown”.  While we waited, we played Pac Man and faked our way through knowing how to play Foosball.  I think about how we optimistically placed coins in the gumball machines, thinking for a fact we would win the best prize it had to offer, despite our luck of only getting the basic undesired selection every time before.  After we ate our pizza, we would excitedly run to the car, securing our specially won prizes from the gum ball machines, and head to the “docks.”  At the docks, we rode bikes, we tried our rollerblades, we raced, and we even built kites we struggled to fly.

These memories are not about the pizza we ate, the prizes won, or trying to figure out how we woke up in our beds the next morning, but about the quality time spent with family.  As a child, it is about having uninterrupted time with family and feeling like the luckiest kid in the world to have had cool adventures.  After this memory, I reflect on my travel adventures, like the summer my Mom and I explored various cities in England; catching the train, exploring flea markets, trying so many new foods, and going to Blackpool beach.  Despite having months of an international experience, my favorite memory from that summer was my first time at the zoo.  I’ve since been to many zoos in my adulthood, but something inside of me remembers that specific childhood summer adventure, and somehow that one summer day at the Manchester Zoo is my all-time favorite zoo experience for no particular reason besides sentiment.  The animals were the same, days at the zoo are too hot, and most of the animals were not as entertaining as expected, but this summer memory overshadows the experiences that followed after. My mother didn’t always have the time or the money, but she was intentional with the experiences she created, and she made it happen one way or another.  Summers are great opportunities to create new memories, to introduce your child to new foods or new skills, and are a great opportunity for you and your child(ren) to get to know one another’s likes, dislike, and thought processes.

In these memories, I felt safe, I felt like the luckiest kid in the entire world, and although I was never ready for summer to end, I was always looking forward to the first week of school, where all my friends and new classmates would share their summer adventures.  Out of three months given for summer, one weekend, well really only a few hours of it, illuminates my mind as a favorite summertime memory.  These positive childhood memories outshine the negative, and for me, my summer memories made up for any lost time I missed with parents and gave me something to look forward to during the school year.  Summertime allows a child’s mind to magnify the relationships they have because it is quality time that helps them to forget about when mom or dad were at work too long or did not have time to go somewhere during the other months.  Unforgettable memories are what summers are made for.

Judges traditionally have been in favor of entering Custody Orders in divorce and custody cases that allows both parents the opportunity to foster and maintain their relationship with their children, as it is in the child’s best interest, especially in the long run.  Judges use many factors to determine what parenting time arrangement is in the best interest of a child, such as each parent’s home environment, ability to care for and nurture the child, each parent’s emotional ties and bond to the child, each parent’s ability to meet the child’s needs and interests, and so forth.  Coparenting is not about outshining the other, but summertime is a great way to make your limited parenting time just as significant, if not more than, the other parent’s parenting time. Summers give parents an advantage to boost their relationship with their child.  Creating long lasting memories during the summer is a great way to make an impact on the parent- child relationship, whether or not the other parent was ordered more parenting time, or less.

The first day of school is quickly approaching, but there is still time to create lasting memories. Ask the child what adventures they would be interested in; pay attention to their daily interests. If you are located in Georgia, a few ideas you can easily squeeze in this summer, or save for the next are listed below.

  • Botanical Garden
  • Atlanta Zoo
  • Aquarium
  • Six-Flags
  • Beltline
  • Piedmont Park
  • Ride bike around the neighborhood or park
  • Go fishing
  • Baseball Game
  • Try a new restaurant
  • Take a road trip
  • Kayaking
  • Camping Weekend
  • Drive in Movie Theatre
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Beach trip
  • Spend a day and a park
  • Try a new DIY project together
  • Check out an amusement park or a museum

The internet and social media sites are filled with ideas and upcoming events.  When co-parenting, being intentional with exposing your child to new adventures is a life hack to creating lasting memories and bonds.  I remember my most of my summertime memories more accurately than I remember how I spent every birthday and holiday season.  One intentional day (or few hours) spent with your child can easily overshadow any disproportional parenting time, and it can recreate normalcy for a child who just witnessed a divorce or custody dispute. Every moment spent with your children is an opportunity to create ultimate memories, but summertime allows both the child and parent undivided, limitless, attention.

 

Renee Richardson

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