(…And no, I’m not calling it a “bucket list,” because to me that makes it sound like things I’ve written down and prioritized and immediately begun to stress over. I already have that list. It’s called “everything else in my life.”)
Be the fun one. Manage to work some sorcery, or permissiveness, so that when Dad says, “Five more minutes until bath,” three smallish pairs of eyes will turn to you hopefully, expecting some eleventh-hour offer of rolling down a grassy hill or eating ice cream out of the container with multiple spoons.
Say no to everything that isn’t the most fun ever. Appointments should be kept to a skeletal, bare minimum. Cancel plans that don’t fill you with euphoric anticipation. Don’t even think about setting up that lukewarm playdate, and your 3-year-old does not need enrichment.
Walk everywhere. To the park, to the store, to the post office. Who cares if it takes three hours to get a bag of apples? Your time is not currency ‘round here.
Become OK with the notion that, sometimes, a midday nap will trump and wipe out preexisting events. Become proactive about this one, actually.
Eat outside for every meal. And yes, a bag of pretzels shared among the kids as you lazily ponder which frozen thing will be defrosted for “dinner” counts as a meal.
Ignore the dishes and laundry that pile up between morning dishes and laundry and evening dishes and laundry. Summer memories are not made while Windexing. Worried about spontaneous company? Well, if your friends aren’t cool with the rules of the summertime wish list, then they kind of sound like jerks anyway.
Hold library hours. On blankets, in beds, on sunny, grassy patches. The only rule of library hour? Every man, woman and child gets their own book and has to read until the reigning grown up deems library hour is over. Obviously, there’s also no talking during, or about, library hour.
Be outside with the entire family. And this is the important part: do not use the appearance of your spouse as an opportunity to tag out and do housework, busy work or work work. Actually hang out with these people you purport to adore. Besides, how else do you expect to build up your Fun One cred?
Hang out with your spouse. Without guilt. Get popsicles, walk barefoot and sit in the grass while watching fireflies. Bring the baby monitor if you must. But don’t feel the need to jump up at the slightest coo or request for water. They’re fine. We’re all fine. Look at the fireflies.
Be fulfilled as often as humanly possible. Use the summer sun as the energy to charge the solar panels of your smile, brain and soul. Get so good at this happiness-wrangling that you’ll be able to create a joy cloak, wrap it around yourself at will …
… and be oh-so ready to make your wish list for autumn.