This may seem like an unusual twist on the usual, slightly negative countdowns to the start of school by frantic parents like myself who are ready to restore order to the summer chaos, get their houses cleaned up, get back to a schedule/routine, and experience a little bit of daytime quiet. I’m right there along with everyone else. There is a part of me holding my breath until the buses roll in and nobody is running around putting half-filled cups on the coffee table, leaving used socks strewn all over wherever they took them off, expecting to be fed at noon, asking for nonstop snacks, and bickering over whose turn it is for “screen time.” Yes, yes, I could easily do that top 10. I practically just did.
But I decided to look up instead of down, to challenge myself to think about what I will miss the most when the buses roll in one after the other in the morning. And I spent a lot of time on this because the joys of summertime with three of God’s amazing blessings are hard to nail down. There are so many things I could name. Which ones are the most significant?
10. My web site and marketing campaign manager
My high schooler is very skilled at research. I am going to miss him logging so many hours on behalf of “Espressos of Faith.” He did what I could not do this summer, and he took great joy in it. I loved connecting with him in this way. We worked well side by side, and we made lasting memories together.
9. My chef
My middle schooler made dinner once a week almost all summer so I could get ready for the book launch. I will miss taco cups, mini pizzas, loaded mashed potato mini cups, tiny chicken pot pies, and anything else you can fit in a muffin tin. I credit her Sunday School cooking class this summer for her sudden love of the apron.
Her teacher, Chef Emily, is fun to follow at Heaven Scent from Emily’s Kitchen.
My second grader gives the best snuggles. He never misses the chance to show affection, and the rest of us, moving at a quicker pace most days, could certainly benefit from stopping to love like a child. It slows us down, soothes, nurtures.
7. My dog whisperer and groomer
She will now have 6th grade homework. I won’t find knotted dog hair all over my floor, that’s for sure—but I’ll also have knotty dogs. And they won’t find me very interesting after she puppy-talked them for two months straight. She looks into their eyes, says ridiculous sweet-nothings, and they just get her. They listen. She speaks something to them that makes sense. I pour the dog food and give them a quick pat. She speaks fluent Shih Tzu. She connects.
Big guffaws in the back of the van during a 14-hour car ride to Kentucky. And changing the words to popular songs to make them silly. A 14 year old can be pretty entertaining, as it turns out, and the 8 year old makes a great fan club. It’s quite the cycle of wit some days.
5. Splashes in the pool
Our short New England summers make swimming fun for about 6 weeks total, but a big cylinder of water on a hot day somehow breaks down barriers, is great for having friends over, and puts everyone on a level plane of fun, no matter their different interests inside the house.
4. Never answering the phone
—well, almost. But time together, without interruption, while not perfect every day—or even achievable some days—was awesome. They were with me, so I knew a school wasn’t calling, and neither were any emergency personnel. They were safely under my roof most of the time, and the years are few for which that will be true.
My oldest two children did some local community service this summer. We don’t have the funds to send them to 8 straight weeks of camps, and we also feel part of our “free time” should be spent helping people and getting outside ourselves. Staring at iPods and FaceTime might be fun to unwind for a few minutes, but it’s not really a summer-long preoccupation.
There is not really one crafty bone in my body. I can write. That’s about it. My daughter spent part of the summer organizing memories and vacation pictures into scrapbooks. All I had to do was click them over to CVS Photo and pick them up. She did the rest. And now we have archived proof of time together should there ever be the “you never…” aimed at us parents down the line. She doesn’t realize she kind of just helped me out there for the future. [Wink!]
I’m an introvert by nature. I spend a lot of time with myself. Having the kids home meant having their social worlds collide into mine, and it was a beautiful thing to sit at a friend’s table for coffee for hours while our daughters caught up, gather for fireworks with some special peeps, or join another set of friends at their pool so our kids could hang out.
What about you? If you have kids headed back to the school routine, whether at home or in a school setting, what would some of the items on your list be?
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September 1, 2015 at 2:03 pm
Bonnie, Bonnie, I really do think we might be twins separated at birth. I LOVE this list! And, I feel the same way. When my girls are home with me, I know what’s going on, what they’re experiencing, etc. When they’re away at school, I worry about what’s going on and what they’re experiencing. I know they need to live life away from me, but I’m never sure what stories I’ll hear when they walk through the door. The upside to this is that when they’re gone, I pray more…all day long, really. And when I know they’re coming up the driveway, I say a special prayer for patience, wisdom, compassion, and guidance! Finally, yes and amen to not having a crafty bone…sing it, sister! I have a chocolate bone instead. 🙂 Contrarily, my girls are upstairs this very minute working on a photo clothesline. I don’t know…Pinterest, I assume. I just buy the screw hooks and pay for photo developing. Anyway, thanks for writing this fabulous list!
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Bonnie Lyn Smith
September 1, 2015 at 3:40 pm
Thanks, Elizabeth! I feel the same way…prayer when they’re gone. Prayer when they are my shift again. LOL 🙂 I wrote this a year ago and just revived it. So fun to reflect on how this summer was similar, minus the book launch. Blessings to you! Glad we’re connected!