The first day of summer has me thinking about my summer list.

Faithful readers of this blog know that I like to put together a list for each season to make sure I actually savor it, and that it all began with that consistent American question of “Are you having a nice summer?” See my old post on having a summer.

Usually I make a fun list of things to do, like going sledding in the winter (wasn’t possible this winter due to no snow!) or apple picking in the fall.

But I am finding that this summer, I am really craving empty days.

Empty like those lawn chairs in the picture above. I took that picture last week when the kids and I went to Deep River Waterpark. The public schools were still in session, so the park was rather empty, and my kids had their pick of water slides.

And that’s what I want for my summer: emptiness.

Days I can while away. Perhaps sit in my own lounge chair on my porch and page through a stack of magazines. Or fiddle with my pictures on my laptop all day. Not go anywhere, not have an appointment, or an event to attend. This, you must understand, is a tall order.

I realized long ago that with three jobs and a family of five, life is, by definition, busy.

As the kids get older and their lives expand, it gets even busier. This summer life has gotten more complicated as all three kids are attending different camps and different summer schools, none of which run congruently or are in the same place. Lots of schlepping and packing and unpacking is involved.

But still, I’ve scaled back one of my teaching jobs for the next few weeks. I intend to keep my own schedule as empty as possible by saying no to offers to go to concerts or plays or movies. I might even hide my copies of Time Out Chicago when they arrive so I don’t feel pulled into all those different directions by all the busy-ness in the city. I might do some of those mundane summer things that are on my old summer list, which is still tacked to the fridge, such as going to the farmers’ market (I started going every Thursday as there’s one on my way to work) or laying down in the grass and looking up at the sky.

But the beauty of those kinds of summer things is that they don’t need to be planned, and they imply a sense of slowing down and savoring the moment.