Photo credit : Piya Mukherjee
It’s 3am. Jet lag knocks at the door. No, please go away. It is the first day of school. It is important. The request is ignored. Jet lag makes it way into the room and settles in comfortably. Sleep distances itself. Hunger pangs slowly make their way in too. We devise strategies to fall back asleep. Eye lids shut tight. Comforter over our heads. It is pitch black. We count backwards from 1000. And then count the other way. We toss and turn in the bed. In the silence of the night we can hear the frustration in our bodies as they fight to get back to sleep. 
An hour and a half later, we give up. The daughter and I throw away the comforter and lay down staring at the ceiling. A conversation stirs up. A conversation reflecting upon the summer gone by. The fun times. The erratic sleep schedules. The sewing project. The idea for the lemonade stand that never quite materialized. Learning to bike. The hurried trip to India. The sense of freedom around the grandparents. The chance to see lives on the other side of the globe. 
Our summer was not extravagant by any means and that was intentional. Nothing was planned. No summer camps. No science camps. Nothing extra ordinary. We just did little things everyday just in the old fashioned way. Created little memories or learnt a life skill. We laughed and giggled. We cooked and baked. We built legos and played board games. We sewed and colored. We watched and observed. We read and wrote journals. We took walks and played tag. Most other times we did NOTHING. And finally we travelled at the end of it all and that is why jet lag is now our good friend. It will take sometime to say good bye to this fella. 
What was your favorite part of the summer? I ask. 
Sewing, biking and the trip. 
What was your favorite part of the trip? I ask even though I know the answer. Binging on Indian sweets, the rickshaw and the auto rickshaw rides, the henna, the dressing up in Indian ethnic attires and all things Bollywood. She lists all of that and then adds something unexpected. 

You need to save. If you waste things, somebody else misses on their share. 
As a witness to the scarcity of water in the scorching summer of India, the unavailability of sometimes what is deemed as basic resources and the struggle of the less fortunate, my daughter brings home a lesson to save and conserve all things. All things that growing up in her part of the world, is most often taken for granted. To me that is summer well spent. For her it is a lesson that has etched its place where it needs to. I need to help her practice it well now. 
I spring out of the bed. I smile as I make my morning cuppa. I reflect on our conversation. For that sort of life lesson , jet lag is a very minor penalty. 
With that we started the day with the usual morning drill and got ready to head out of the door. Ready for another new year at school, where some other great lessons shall be learnt. Summer will be sorely missed. But then there will always be another summer and there shall be more fun.

Story credit : Piya Mukherjee