When I was at school, the holidays were three long months with nothing to do. We had the car park to play with the other children and I would spend there every morning and afternoon after 4pm (before that time it was too hot). We children didn’t have any club or classes, it was just us, and our volleyball, skates, tennis rackets, skipping rope, whatever we could find. None of us knew how to play any of those sports “properly”, we just played. We imitated the gymnasts with our balls and homemade ribbons, clumsily dancing to the music. We got bored and then found a little room at the top of the stairs of our building (it had thirteen floors), it must have been something to do with the elevators. It was all dusty and dark. We decided to clean it up and make it our den. And one summer went like that, playing in our secret room. My father would whistle from the balcony when it was time to go home, it was a special sound that I could recognise wherever I was. I would ask for ten minutes more invariably.
The rest of the time I read and talked with my sister and listened to the radio until the middle of the night.
Sometimes we would go to the sea with my dad, in the mornings. Ten minutes the first day, fifteen the second day etc. until our skin was used to the sun and we wouldn’t get sunburned. At the end of the summer we usually had a lovely tan.
My father was travelling a lot for work, and we used to move to my granny’s house when he was not home. There was another car park and other children there, but I remember feeling that I was an outsider and not being able to make any friends. I missed my dad and didn’t like that house. I read all the books my granny and my aunt had there, and learnt to recognise very bad literature.
When September came, I was longing for school. I was bored. My best friend went on holiday with her family at the beginning of September and suddenly there was nothing to do. I never understood the people who hated going back to school, for me it was fantastic: new stationery, a new diary, new books to read…
This year Pallino has spent a long time at home. No classes, nothing to do, no timetable. He likes playing with his toys, finding out new things in his rooms, toys he had forgotten already. He invents new stories every day. He’s usually Batman and will save the day. I had to fight with him to go out, but luckily the local children’s bookshop had a reading every week and he’s always happy to go there. I organised a playdate every time I could, but we don’t know many people yet and many were on holiday or busy. It’s been a tough month for me (after a tough “holiday”), but I feel it was the right pace for him. It’s been a summer free from any commitment, probably the last one ever. Next week he will start school. Good luck little Pallino.