By Susan Barnett

Ok, so I’m 38 years old and have been out of school for a long time, no surprise there. But one childhood memory that still remains fresh (perhaps something I still long for) is summer vacation, 2 to 3 months OFF. No school, no going to bed early, no waking up at the crack of dawn, no school work, no homework, no real responsibility! Summertime is one seemingly endless sleepover and pool party.

It’s one of the greatest parts of childhood, maybe because once you’re an adult you’ll never have that luxury again. Even if you don’t work outside the home, you likely have very grown up responsibilities like raising children and the worry of making sure the bills get paid.

So, that is why once the 4th of July rolls around and I walk into a store like Target or Walmart, I still get that sinking feeling when I see, BACK TO SCHOOL displays. Really? Already? The kids haven’t even been “free” for a month. Whatever happened to a 3 month summer vacation? As a kid, walking into a full display of brightly colored notebooks and “Trapper Keepers” (remember them?) midsummer was a total buzz kill. It would literally put a damper on the entire day.

So now, as a news anchor I cringe every time I have to read a Back to School story on the air in the middle of a brutal July heat wave. It just doesn’t seem right to me. I always feel the need to jokingly apologize to all the school students who may be watching. Not to mention… all the teachers out there who feel the same way.

Perhaps I’ve given this way too much thought, but it’s just that “summers off” only exist when you’re a kid. It’s one of the great privliges of youth and we all know that our “youth” doesn’t last nearly long enough.

Now I am aware, that my view may change in a few years. In just a few weeks, I am expecting my third child. That gives me a 4 year old, a one year old and a newborn. Eventually they will all be in school, full days. I may, at that point, find the beauty in “summer’s over” time to head “back to school”. But until then, I’m with the kids on this one. Save the school supplies for September, or late August… as the case may be these days. Boy, times really have changed!