“If I had my life to live over again I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded…I would have eaten popcorn in the “good” living room and worried less about the dirt when you lit the fireplace…I would have sat cross-legged on the lawn with my children and never worried about grass stains…When my child kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “‘Later. Now, go get washed up for dinner.'”
As a mom, I have the tendency to think that every day must be filled with structure and activities. If we’re not at the beach or enrolled in a camp, the day must be filled with wholesome, energy-expending experiences. The goal, of course, is learning, growth, and development. Coming in only second to saving my sanity.
Structure is important, and activities are too, but so is cultivating memories in the ordinary days that seem to pass so quickly. Summer is an opportunity to linger a little bit, and observe these longer days that invite us into freedom and adventures. Soon a new chapter will begin; a school year full of milestones, lessons, new sports teams, and even new friendships. So, I find myself clinging to this in-between couple of months where we ditch the alarm and embrace a slower pace.
As my children grow, my heart grieves as we leave the previous season and wardrobes behind, but I find myself able to be more present as they mature. As a result, I take hold of the little moments offered that make and shape our days together. It’s usually a combination of really challenging, and really life-giving.
To me, summer is…
Boredom to be embraced. Fresh-cut gardenias in my powder room that, each time I pass by, the sweet scent triggers a memory of my grandma. It’s rosy cheeks that my little boy has May to September no matter how much, and how often, we apply sunscreen. It’s little freckles that pop out on my daughter’s nose, and flecks of gold in both of their hair.
It’s the sound of wet feet and rubber flip-flops as we shuffle back from the pool. It’s the sticky hands and popsicle-stained faces. It’s evening golf cart rides and late bedtimes. It is sweet corn, the smell of the burgers on the grill, and the wonder of fireflies at dusk. It’s the days when I feel like I’m falling apart and have monumentally failed as a mom. It’s the morning’s waking up grateful I get another chance to do it again, and hopefully do it a little better today.
It’s my favorite time of year for so many reasons, but sometimes it takes slowing down to remember to be grateful for every passing season, and all that it brings. Moms know better than anyone that the days are long but the years are short, and they pass by far too quickly.