LIFE: The Summer of Benign Neglect

Falls Church Times Staff

September 5, 2010

The weather changed overnight, the pool closes on Monday, school starts on Tuesday, and the calendar is filling up. Summer is officially over.

As I reflect on our summer, I realized that our summer was one of benign neglect, for reasons beyond my control. With record heat in July, I gave my garden up to Nature’s forces – our water was needed to keep our newly landscaped lawn and shrubs from dying of shock.   Who knew we’d still get a bountiful crop of goodies – the white eggplant and cherry tomatoes were plentiful and are still producing.  So our zucchini, cucumbers, and larger tomatoes withered on the vine…our long beans were champs and kept on growin’ through 95° heat.   

My ‘tweens also blossomed through this summer of benign neglect while I managed a database migration at work.  Finding few camps that fit with vacation plans or interests, they had a lot more unscheduled time than in past years. 

I learned that a simple To Do list left on the kitchen table with no nagging was completed beyond my expectations.  Working as a team, they were able to get the lawn mowed (one to pick up the sticks and start the ancient mower, one to mow the lawn in neat rows). Even though, honestly, there was a lot of screen time, a request to “turn off the computer and TV and find something else to do” was met by more books being read this summer – even when it meant they had to walk to the library to check out the next book of a series.  Baskets were shot with friends, the dog visited the dog park frequently, and outings with friends were organized – without a lot of intervention on my part.  We used the pool more than ever.

Hmm… maybe this is a trend.  Or maybe it was a fluke.  But it was a great summer.  How was yours?

This article is the first in an occasional Sunday series about life in general.  Ideas for stories?  Send them to [email protected].

September 5, 2010 


5 Responses to “LIFE: The Summer of Benign Neglect”

  1. Peggy Monahan, Falls Church City on September 5th, 2010 10:11 am


  2. Jim Breiling, Noprth Arlington on September 5th, 2010 10:21 am

    Wonderful — Children reading! Children playing and having outings! Children walking the dog! Children even doing chores! And with minimal adult organizing and no report of transporting. Great model for the good life in “The Little City.” Way to go Hennessey’s.

  3. Sally Brett on September 5th, 2010 1:46 pm

    Benign neglect rooted in a lot of trust and love. Way to go, family Hennessey!

  4. TFC on September 5th, 2010 4:07 pm

    I spent the summer rising at 5:30 to do yard work and such. In the heat of the day I worked on catching up with favorite and new- to- me authors. I gave the library a workout.
    The new Michael Connelly, Nelson DeMille, Jonathan Kellerman books.
    “Discovered” Kathy Reichs and loved her style. Just right for summer reading so….I read them all topping off with her newest one “Spider Bones”
    Finished all the Robert Crais novels…..I read a couple during the winter and liked them so used the summer to finish the list.
    Tried Steig Larsson’s first of the trilogy, not my cuppa tea so that left room for other books.
    Working on Justin Cronin’s “The Passage”….766 pages and it doesn’t feel like homework yet…yippee.
    Made bunches of new recipes and some old favorites like sweet zucchini bread. Love to pop little loaves in the freezer for a winter day snack. Bought spices at Penzeys and added zip to everything I made.
    The heat kept hubby inside after he got home from work so lots of time together for us….. just staying cool.

  5. TFC on September 10th, 2010 7:10 pm

    Finished The Passage….it never did feel like homework. Good book, it will be back in circulation Monday for the next person with a hold on it.

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