This summer didn't go how I wanted it to go.
I hate speaking of summer in past tense, especially since I've committed to keeping summer in my spirit until September.This is still my plan.
My plan, however, is adjusted to reality.
The reality is this: The first four weeks of summer were crammed-jammed with have-tos. The second four weeks of summer were supposed to be lazy summer days when I write in the morning and we go for bike rides and we eat lunch next to the water fall at the park and we pop over to our neighbor's for late afternoon swims and we roast marshmallows and catch fireflies and dirt swirls in the tub and one more book is read together. It turns out the last four weeks of summer were crammed-jammed too.
This isn't a summer issue.
My kids are growing up.
I know this isn't shocking and for those of you on the other side of the screen who have been there before me, I'm sure you are nodding, maybe even smirking a bit.
But for this momma, you might as well hit me with a stampede of elephants.
Hannah is a 7th grader. Her legs are almost as long as I am tall.
Stephanie organized her dresser drawers according to sports season.
Jay is planning for his first sleep over.
And Sam always has a baseball cap on his head and quarters in his pocket, just in case he wants to buy popcorn at the concession stand or a pack of Juicy Fruit at the store.
What happened to 7:30 bedtime? What happened to park visits? What happened to left overs for the next day?
There's this too. They can devour a 4 pound meatloaf in a single meal. I can pile their plates with a main dish, a starch, a vegetable, a fruit -- they can have seconds and still are hungry.
They make plans and add them to the calendar. Softball practice. Run with a friend. Football try-outs. Boyscout camp out.
Their plans have suddenly usurped mine.
And summer didn't go as I expected.
How could I have expected this? I'm not needed to orchestrate the day. They are building their own lives. I'm sidelined to administrative assistant and taxi driver.
But there is still this: Wherever I am, they find me. They still join me on the front porch with books and chocolate milks. They still pile in the family room, snuggled under quilts. They congregate in the kitchen when I'm making cookies or dinner. They let me rub their backs before bedtime and they still whisper important thoughts to me.
We are on the move, but I don't get to set the pace.
Instead, I get to be along for the ride as their biggest fan. (Well, second biggest, because Andy will make no bones about being bigger in mass and therefore a bigger fan. I still contest this logic.)
We are their biggest fans. And I am stunned by how remarkable I find them.
That little girl who shelled up and ignored the world is joining the cross country team so she can make new friends. The other little girl who threw a fit every. single. night. when asked to put her dishes in the dishwasher clears the table without being asked. The little boy who used to be afraid to play outside shoots hundreds of baskets each afternoon. The one we brought home from the hospital and stopped every three miles just to check to make sure the car seat was still secure, sits in the front seat on the way to run this errand and pick up that sibling.
This summer has been one of adjustment for me. I'm learning to let go. I'm learning to give up my freedom for scheduling in the most convenient manner for me. I'm learning a conversation is more useful than a timeout and that sometimes you have to lose the battle in order to win the war (as my dad would say, even though I promised I would never utter those words.)
I guess what I'm realizing is I'm okay with all of this. I'm okay with being sidelined. I'm okay with losing some battles to snotty retorts and huffy feet. I'm okay with giving up some of my freedom. (Although I am grieving the loss of 7:30 pm bedtime.)
Because in the end, there are going to be four rather remarkable people who will make the world a better place. Meanwhile this momma will adjust her pace and cling to the truth that her stories still matter and her writing is still a calling and she will keep making her corner of the world better too. It just may take a little longer as I run a young soul to one more commitment and listen to another heartache and console anxious nerves and stand next to the train table, building a skyscraper out of a cereal box because I realize more than ever how short-lived childhood really is.
I hope you keep reading as I find my footing as my children outgrow me.