2014, you outdid yourself, that's for sure.
I believe it was my best summer yet in 32 years.
SO much sunshine, lazy days where we stayed in our pajamas until noon and ate picnic lunches on the porch, mixed with HUGE adventures - Sesame Street Place, Story Land, beach and lake trips galore.
It was simply the best.
I work in a school and so I'm home in the summers. I am not one of those people who takes what they have for granted. No, I actually say out loud "I am so lucky!" almost every day. I know how blessed I am to have 8 straight weeks off to be with my children, to see them smiling as I tell them we're off on another adventure this morning, to watch them race toward the ocean.
Not only am I lucky to be home, but I'm lucky to live in a place that is full of adventures - many that are free! - outside, sunshine and sea water. Maine, ah, the place to be.
I always worked in the summers. I had a family business, two of them actually, so I was chambermaiding, making beds, cleaning toilets, and serving up lobsters since I was a kid. I even worked as a chambermaid the summer I was pregnant with my first, first trimester morning sickness + cleaning toilets = bad mix.
So the last 4 years to be home with the kids and enjoying the time with them, cleaning the house, reading books, hanging out... it's bliss. I offer every summer to get a job and my husband tells me nope, the little money it would bring in is not worth sacrificing the awesome times and memories I could have with the kids. SO appreciative that he works so hard so I can do this.
In addition to the relaxed days at home in the summer, I enjoy seeing my kids wonder and excitement. I love that I'm there to watch the growth, unlike the school year when they are at school and daycare.
I also love how focused, in the moment and slow we are. We're not in some big hurry all the time. We just take each day and enjoy it.
Now that summer is over and we've said farewell to the sunny days at the beach (emptying the beach bag full of sand and tons of bathing suits, snacks, magazines, etc. is always a sad moment for me!), I am full of this big need to savor those moments. To relish in the relaxation that's past me now. I'm two days into my back to work week and I'm EXHAUSTED. I'm totally forgetting how rejuvenated I felt.
Yesterday morning was rough. I was snippy. I was rushing. They were asking "Why, Mom? Why are we going so fast?" We all ended in tears. And this was before 6:30 a.m.
I got to work and told my friend about our morning... the traffic annoying me, how I checked the time 15 times to see if I was late yet, how my son wanted me to linger at preschool, slightly nervous his first day back, and I was instead thinking "I'VE GOT TO GO!" in my head. I was frazzled and stressed. They were confused and wondering what the heck happened to their easygoing, calm, everything's a fun adventure mom they've been used to the last few months.
It was rough.
My co-worker said, "So don't do that. Ever. It's not worth it. For you or for them. It's not worth it. So don't do it. Do what you can. It is what it is."
She's right. I can only do what I can do being this busy full time working out of the home mom who does both drop offs and has to be to work by 7:10 through bus traffic. It's impossible to expect more of me than I'm already giving.
So, as I say goodbye to summer and remind myself of how good we had it, along with accepting that yes, life this fall will be tiring and busier than we'd like for it to be, I'm also vowing to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. I'm going to slow down. I'm going to remember that they are still these little guys who look up to me and rely on me to make them feel better and calm and happy.
I'm going to wake myself up earlier in the mornings so that I'm fully ready and not rushed. I'm going to stop and read a story with them before work because I know it takes literally 2 minutes and it makes all the difference for us heading out on our busy day if we've had those 2 minutes to connect, snuggle and laugh together.
I'm going to try to see my kids more.
Like really SEE them.
The way I see them when I'm sitting on the lawn chair and staring at the ocean and my kids' amazement at something so awesome.
I want to remember to see them as I'm rushing from one daycare drop off to another, just wanting to get home and out of my business attire. I want to remember to check out how tall they're getting, to notice which foods they're enjoying now and which ones they hated yesterday but are trying at dinner.
I want to listen. To the things they say a zillion times that drive me crazy "Can I have a snack?!" and the things they aren't saying when they are too tired from their own busy days.
I want to make sure we continue taking adventures. Maybe not as cool as long beach days or amusement park trips, but this fall I want us apple picking and sitting outside in the yard playing with sticks and leaves.
I want to see those HUGE grin toothy smiles A LOT. Like we did this summer.
I want to see them smiling at something I said or that I allowed that I typically would say no to. Like ice cream for dinner. In the fall! Can you imagine how cool that would be?
I want to cuddle. I want to make time for just hanging out.
I'll make easy dinners so that we can have more time for playing after work.
Chores can wait. They can always wait. There is always tomorrow. That will be my motto.
I never want them to feel like we're speeding through their childhood, rushing from one appointment or errand to another. I want to go to the playground even though I really need to get groceries. I want to take them to the beach one more time, after work some random day, just because I know the sunny days are fleeing us, and let them jump in with their school clothes on.
I want to be THAT mom who allows us to do these crazy super fun things, just because I missed them all day while working hard. I want to teach them that even though mom's not with you all day, I missed you THIS much and spread my arms out as wide as they'll go, while we run around outside.
I'll continue taking a zillion pictures. Even when the scenery isn't as nice as the oceanside days were. I want to remember even those dreary winter days that I know are coming. Because it shows who we were together as a family.
This fall is going to be busy. So many parties, weddings, soccer practices, and school things. It's going to be kinda crazy.
But it's also going to be filled with fun, joy, and tons of laughter. Just like summer was.
Because I can make that happen. I can promise to make that happen.
Despite being tired, hungry, frustrated or overwhelmed at work.
I can be that summer mom I am, all year round. It just takes a bit more effort. But we can stay there...
there in those summery afternoons where the whole day is spread before us and we have SO many more adventures to take.
Let's stay there... in that adventure-filled funny place.
That place called childhood. I love it there.