Every night before bed lately I look at our summer itinerary. Dreaming of our upcoming vacation time is, quite honestly, what’s motivating me through the gauntlet that is most of May.
I am traveling solo with the kids on a four-week road trip south this summer. We’ll come home for a week and head out on another road trip north (this time with Dad too) and eventually back south again in August.
I am excited to just get be with my kids again. No homework. No projects. No activities. No lunches to pack. No carpool.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my kid’s school. I love their activities. I could not adore and appreciate the amazing people who pour into my kid’s lives more. I am just really looking forward to getting out of the hustle and bustle of our routine (which feels especially frenetic at the end of the school year) and back to a place where we have more TIME to just enjoy each other. Where I don’t have to share my kids with anyone.
Summer has become this season that I hold sacred with them. Aside from one truly special week of sleep-away camp it’s just me and them, making memories.
My kids are all at this amazing point where they can do so many things. They can ride the big roller coasters. They can dine at fancy restaurants. They can swim, and zip line and hike and read books and watch movies I actually find interesting. They can handle long road trips. They truly enjoy museums. They don’t need diaper changes or naps. Okay, sometimes they do need naps. But the point is they are *big*. And capable. And smart. And so much fun.
I feel this sort of consciousness of how fleeting and precious this period is. They will continue to grow at this break neck speed and once these years are gone, they will be gone forever and irretrievable. I’ll blink and they’ll be spending their summer as a foreign exchange student in Spain or working to save money for a car.
18 summers. That’s all we get as a family. Over half of them are gone. Maybe more.
And so I’ve had the overwhelming desire to spend as much time with them as I can. Because I can. I realize it’s a privilege and one I am grateful for.
So even when my mid-section may look like I just delivered them yesterday, I’ll put on the bathing suit and throw diving rings until dark. I’ll let them stay up and catch lightning bugs. I’ll pay $5 for an ice cream cone, even though I could buy a gallon at the store for that much. I’ll ride their favorite ride one more time with them. Because before I know it we’ll be back in the thick of another school year and that much closer to them being grown and gone.
18 summers. That’s all we get. Make them count.
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