Summertime and livin's ... easy?

It was bound to happen. It does every year. I shudder and deadpan, "Summer is coming," like some bizarro "Game of Thrones" extra. The pages of the calendar turn and suddenly, summer is not just coming but here, taking off its Crocs and making itself comfortable for the next 90 some-odd days. From a child's perspective, life couldn't be better but for us parents? Send thoughts, prayers and popsicles.

On deadline day, we're rounding Week 2 of summer vacation in our house already. That's 14 mornings of two little cherubs thundering down the hallway shouting, "MOOOOOM! WHAT ARE WE DOING TODAY?" for the entire neighborhood to hear. For the majority of the year, the answer is pretty simple: School, followed by either enrichment, swim class, playdates, library or sports. Summertime, however, turns that normally standard query into a conundrum; with some go-tos out of the picture until late August, there are hours-long gaps to fill each day. But with what?

Coordinating summer schedules isn't for the faint of heart. What's the difference between these two similar-sounding programs? Can we make up classes we'll miss while on vacation? When does the pool schedule change?

Oh, and all of these questions should have been answered months ago.

I'm probably showing my age here but I don't remember summers being quite so rigid. What I do recall is running down the street to my best friend's house each morning and seeing where the day took us. Sometimes, it was a quick jaunt to my backyard pool and treehouse while other times, we zipped around town on our 10-speeds or Rollerblades, meeting pals or picking up different sports. The best days ended with an ice cream truck treat or a sleepover, complete with pre-caller ID landline prank calls.

High school and college breaks brought preseason team practices, standardized test prep, part-time jobs, internships and glimpses of "real life," but those early summers? Pure bliss. I want those simple pleasures for my kids so badly, yet I'm forced to weigh that desire with feeling like a subpar parent because every moment of the summer isn't planned.

Ultimately, I think we hit the right balance between stimulated and overscheduled, though we won't know for sure until there's a mutiny over camp lunches or sunscreen application. I'll let you know in September, but right now, I'm definitely having one of those popsicles. C'mon, you know you want one, too.

- Lex Silberberg of Hinsdale is a contributing columnist. Readers can email her at [email protected].