Sounds almost like the name of an autobiography, doesn’t it? Bored Girl, Long Summer. Maybe it is an autobiography at that, but since my older children are off on their own adventures this summer, the last few months have been an exercise in unexpected boredom and listlessness for my 13yo. G-, my now 17yo son, is up in Montana near Glacier National Park for the summer, and my oldest, A-, 20, has been in Costa Rica for a few months!
So you can imagine being a young girl just moving into her adolescence, used to having at least her big sister to hang out with, if not both siblings, just to find that this summer they’re both gone. No surprise, K- keeps telling me that she’s bored. I’ve given her tasks to do around the house – even for money sometimes, like tackling the great jungle that is our backyard (thanks to Honda for the kick-butt mower that can handle it too) – but those are short-term tasks, not something that consumes empty days or weeks.
As a budding cat-lady, she definitely is happy to spend hours just hanging out with her cat and reading books or playing on her iPhone, but it makes me tired to watch her do nothing day after day, stay up until all hours of the night and sleep in until 11am or noon. My stuff, I know, but as an early riser who finds my most productive hours are generally in the am hours, it seems so… so… wasteful. 🙂
She has talked about volunteering at the local animal shelter, but that’s tricky because a lot of them have a cutoff of 14yo for solo volunteers, expecting a parent to be present the entire time if they’re 13. So her volunteer work becomes my volunteer work too, desired or not.
The summer hasn’t been without its entertainments, and she’s involved in a volleyball camp this coming weekend and has friends, of course, but those friends are mostly traveling and unavailable. The long and short of it: lots of down time. Lots of, well, boredom.
But you know what? It’s not my problem. In a fundamental way I believe that boredom is good because it spurs imagination and can get a child off their butt to make things happen. Hopefully in a good way, but that’s my daily challenge to her: what are you going to do to make something fun and interesting happen today?
So far, not so much. But we have six weeks left, so we shall see…