Summer so far // Summer, so far

This is the first Monday back to normal after Brad’s two week summer “break”.

I can look back and see a few fun trips and a lot of normal days just spent together. The three older boys did day camp at the nearby nature center and had a blast which gave us more one on time with the other kids.

The only bummer is that we are sick again and this time it started with me. For the most part I seem to escape the illnesses the kids get and have become increasingly grateful for a robust immune system that has weathered nearly 15 years of kid germs. I feel like we were just in the clear of another early summer sickness that ran it’s course (slowly) through the kids so I was pretty disheartened when I started to feel yucky. The rational part of my brain can tell me it’s not that bad and we will get over it with nary a blip in the year, but right now it feels a bit sad to have another week or two of sickness threatening to ruining all our summer plans.

I also have been pondering my mindset about summers and realizing in some ways I’m OK with plans being ruined. I’ve realized that over the past few years I have picked up more and more pressure to give my kids the best summer. You know the ones with the late nights playing outside, plenty of trips to the pool and instagram worthy vacations and trips. I can see now how much stress that has added and causes anxiety when I (obviously) cannot reach that goal and about mid July start to peter out and get exhausted.

This morning our family all slept until after 8, with a few record snoozers who didn’t wake until I made them after 9. That means we are hitting the doldrums of summer a little early this year and I can be ok with slow lazy days inside for a bit until our health and energy have returned a bit.

We are fully in what I like to call “high summer”. The gardens are producing at near full strength, summer flowers are in, the heat and humidity are at an all time high and it’s the perfect time to learn how to hold doing all the things and doing nothing in tension. I don’t want summer to slip away but it’s physically impossible to “enjoy every moment”.

I have been thinking back to that strange summer 4 years ago when everything was shut down for a virus. I know I only see roses when I remember that time, but I do recall how surprisingly lovely it was that pretty much everything was shut down. All we could do was just be together with our family or those that were willing to gather. I miss the simplicity of that.

In a world that has so many good options, it’s truly hard to know where to draw the line and say no. I would love to provide my kids with endless opportunities and adventures but I also know it’s important to sit and be bored. To have to make your own fun. To just sit on the couch and read a book.

I just tried to take a nap because the sick toddler wanted to use me as a human pacifier last night. I had barely fallen asleep on the couch when I heard the drawn out and often whiny “maaaahhhhhhmmmm” from one of my daughters, a sure sign that they urgently need something from me but it is likely not important. I snapped back at her to watch something different when she complained about her sister shutting the show off. I told her I didn’t get any sleep and she would be in trouble if she didn’t just leave.

Well of course after all that yelling I was fully awake. I reflected on my not so kind words as I brewed some coffee and thought about how easily we try to excuse harsh words like that with funny memes and phrases.

Phrases like, “I can’t be held accountable for the things I said when I was tired” and the like. That’s exactly the attitude I want to hold, but I also know God has called me higher. So I will set my mind and heart right and go tell her that I was sorry for reacting that way. I set the tone in this household and God always has enough for me, even when I’m running on fumes.

From the moment I woke up today I had to choose to just be OK with this day. When plans don’t work out and kids are sick and I’m tired I can still choose to be joyful. The goodness of God doesn’t leave me on days like this.

So today joy looked like teaching my daughter to bake muffins, sitting in on a late afternoon tea party, making pickles, and doing laundry. Nothing exceptional, but beautiful in the eye of the beholder.

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