Summer is fading fast. The temperatures are cooler, the days are shorter and school is back in session. I miss it already. I feel like I’m getting ready to hibernate for the winter–storing up food, getting out the mittens and preparing to stay in my toasty warm house during the cold, cold days. But this summer—it was a good one. It’s just that it symbolizes how quickly childhood fades as well.
My soul goal this summer was to spend time outside and with the kids. Based on their tans alone, I’d say I was successful in at least one of those tasks.
My job as a parent is to expose my children to as many things as possible. I want them to see things, feel things, taste things and be things that I couldn’t even imagine. In order to do that, I have to show them what I know in the hopes that they will want to go farther and do more. The summer is the perfect time to take them places and do things that expand their horizons and develop them as people.
I’m incredibly blessed to have a flexible work schedule. I work a few days a week in an office and several days at home, and sometimes I did the work at night. I had Tuesday and Fridays completely open for my kids. Each Tuesday became Free Field Trip Day, when we would seek out something free and fun. Friday, we’d do something closer to home.
Then there were the camping trips. We went more this summer than we ever have. The trips were around our house with one to Connecticut where we spent time visiting attractions in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. We swam in lakes and the ocean. We hunted sea glass, picked berries, cheered on sail boats and read. It was exhausting. To help me visualize the amount we squeezed in, I created this video.
summer 2016 from Rebecca Thomas on Vimeo.
We have 940 weeks from the time that our children our born until they reach 18. 940 weeks to show them what we want to them to know, establish morals and lay the foundations for their futures. Childhood is too short. My oldest is almost 9 years old. I’m half-way there with her. Half of her time with us is already gone—and that flew right by.
I imagine there won’t be to many more summers when she’ll want to hang out with me, picking strawberries and hunting sea glass. Well, it’s more likely her middle sister will punk out on these activities before she will, but that’s not the point. The summers are when we have most of our fun.
During the school year, we try to cram in family activities and time together, but it’s more difficult. They have school, homework, after-school activities and other obligations. Our lessons go from hands-on fun to the practical–teaching them things like time-management and study skills. We talk more about friends and school work. We all spend more time on independent activities and less time huddled around a campfire.
It’s sad to see the summer go, but it’s necessary. We have to help them become functional adults. And this is how we do that. Life isn’t always fun and games. Life isn’t always just hanging out with your sisters. Life isn’t always sleeping in and hanging out at the beach.
So while I mourn the passing of each summer, I know that it’s what has to happen.
No matter the time of year, I hope I’m doing enough. I hope I’m showing enough love, empathy, support, discipline and compassion. I have so much to teach them and so little time.