Like many millions of people around the world, I follow a seasonal schedule. But our daily routine is not determined by the weather, amount of sunlight, or markings on a calendar. No, my life revolves around my son’s school year. When August ends, the summer holiday for students will conclude. Soon, no more hot, humid summer weather as the fall season and fall term begins. (At least, that is true in the northern hemisphere. Situated below the equator, my New Zealand friend Lyn is coping with freezing temperatures and snow these days.)

In September, the kids will be ending their holiday – and, as a wonderful old Bing Crosby song notes, “… and Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again.” This has been a wonderful summer for me. I enjoyed lots of time with my son. But, with the beginning of his school year in September, I am looking forward to resuming a regular schedule with more discretionary time to enjoy the luxury of choosing what I will do to fill up my days… until my son’s winter holiday begins.

Let me begin this article with an excerpt from my book China Bound:

For reasons long forgotten, I always expect August to be a month of hot, lazy, simple, unhurried days.  I visualize August as the last month of summer before the resumption of a regular schedule when the school year starts. August should be a last chance for summertime relaxation and fun.  Despite my actual experiences in the past, this vision remains strong and unyielding to reality.  Each year, I begin August with the expectation that, this year, August will be a quiet and peaceful time… but it never is.  

August 2019 is no different. With only a couple of weeks left of my son’s school holiday, I am suddenly aware the “lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer” (as an old American pop song goes), are nearly finished. What happened? It all went so quickly. Of all the many tasks, projects, and hot-weather activities I anticipated for the summer, most are unfinished. Many were never begun.

Fortunately, I can blame this appalling lack of productivity and follow-through on my son rather than take personal responsibility. Young children are one of the greatest things to ever happen to disorganized, inefficient adults. For every one of my problems, inadequacies, and incompletions, I can avoid feeling responsible by shifting the blame to my son. He must have been playing with my keys/phone/glasses because I can’t find them… I can’t start that task now because he will be home soon and will interrupt my work… I can’t do that now because I must be quiet while he is sleeping… I can’t do my work and watch him at the same time, so my work will have to be deferred… I can’t start that new project today; I have to take him out to play then watch him… He and his friends are so noisy; it is impossible to concentrate while they are playing… Watching over him is exhausting; I have no energy left for starting my own work. Yes, my son provides lots of excuses why it’s not my fault that it is now the middle of August and most of the plans and projects I wanted to complete this summer are still in the planning stage.

Don’t misunderstand me. My son is my highest priority; that is settled and absolute. And, we had lots of fun during his holiday. Time spent together this summer will become a wonderful treasury of memories to savor on the duller, cooler days ahead after he returns to school. Also, at his age (six-almost-seven), his personality is changing rapidly as he gains new skills and experiences and confidence. I didn’t want to let this opportunity for some extended father-son time slip away; it is irreplaceable. (However, I also call this the “suicide watch” phase of parenting. Since he is fearless, his mother and I have to watch him closely to be sure he doesn’t kill himself while imitating one of his favorite television superheroes.)

Thus, with an abundance of excuses and rationalizations, I can now look forward to his school starting in a short time. Finally, I can get back to my writing. And, we have several exciting ideas about new ways to get online exposure. I won’t tell you the details yet but stay tuned. Plus, I hope to get approval for my books to be sold on DangDang.com and I am considering using AI tools for translating my work into Mandarin. Maybe this blog also, so readers could choose between English and Chinese versions. (Chinese readers, what do you think? Should this become a bilingual blog or remain English-only?) There are many other opportunities and channels to explore for writing and marketing. Finally, I am simultaneously working on my next book (DAHIK: Don’t Ask How I Know) which I hope to release before the end of 2019. The next few months should be a fun, exciting, productive time.

But first, I have to get the boy back in school so I can spend more time on my computer without his “help”. Thanks to his insistence on “helping” me, I am now using my third wireless keyboard and my fourth wireless mouse. Yes, I am looking forward to it… but it’s going to be awfully quiet around here. I’m will miss the little monkey with his boundless energy, insatiable curiosity, and insistence on “helping”.