Monday, August 30, 2010
We only get one shot every year to do it right, to live summer well. There is a lot of pressure put on summer and how we use June, July, and August. My husband is a teacher and a soccer coach, so this season is his sanity break---our chance to get time together, for my boys to get their love tanks filled before the storm of soccer season and fall’s chaos.
Sometimes we do summer well, sometimes not. This summer is feeling a bit not. I feel like we’ve been juggling too many events, activities, and obligations. There have been too many days when my husband has left before the boys wake and gets home after the last one has fallen asleep----only to do this arduous schedule again the next day
My middle was starting to regress, act out, exhibit 2-year-old behavior that I thought we’d left long behind. I was starting to doubt my parenting abilities. I was evaluating myself, wondering what I was doing to cause these sessions of passionate angst.
At the dinner table last night the older two boys announced that they wanted to do a toast. My oldest lifted his juice glass, “Here’s to Daddy’s quick visit home!” Earlier that day my husband had dashed in for 20 minutes to grab something he’d forgotten between meetings. They each got a kiss and hug, and for that they were grateful. I got it. It wasn’t me; it was the loss of Daddy Time they were feeling instead. My middle son acts as the canary in the coal mine. I need to listen to his expressions a bit more often, since it usually mirrors what we are all feeling inside.
Near the end of the summer we always evaluate our commitments, what we accomplished, what we were glad happened, and what we hope to never repeat.
This has been helpful throughout our marriage. After three summers in a row, pre-kids, of me finding summer employment my husband pointed out that the extra money was not worth the time and effort, and that for my health and his, it was better for me to enjoy my summers so that I could be a better teacher during the school year. He was right.
Good summers include many evening meals eaten outside, running our toes in the green grass. Good summers mean that we don’t have to look at our watches. We can spend more time playing down at the river and not worry about getting back by a certain time. Good summers mean we play, rest, relax, and then play again. We fill full, like we’ve just relished in a good holiday meal, and now we are sleeping it off in our lawn chairs. I just don’t feel like this happened well this summer. We were too busy, had too many obligations.
Each summer hopefully we do better. Hopefully we continually evaluate and adjust our expectations. I know we will need these skills as our family of young men age. I don’t want to collapse at the end of the finish line, in roughly 20 plus years, and say, “Well, we survived. They all gradated. No casualties?”
Instead I hope we are able to take a step back and enjoy each moment and stage, releasing our mistakes, and remembering to repeat our successes. Summer is essential to my soul, and I never want to skip over it without dunking myself fully into what it offers. I want to pass this type of summer living on to my kids. Summers done right are about watching time stand still as you lazily rest against a tree and watch the sprinkler dance in the back yard.