By the time you read this, your children will probably be back in school. Oh yes, I can hear you shouting, “HOORAY!” Now, I know we’ll all miss the slower pace of summer, whether it’s getting to sleep in later, going to the beach or lounging by the pool. It’s great just to be outdoors, and mealtime is so much simpler – burgers or hot dogs on the grill with some Jersey corn, and you’re good to go. It’s the time when kids are less stressed since there are no tests to take or homework to do. They get to hang out with their friends, ride their bikes and have sleepovers. Summer is just more fun, but eventually those little darlings are driving you nuts, and you feel it’s time to turn the page and get some kind of order back into your life. When school starts, parents who work get some relief since child care arrangements ease a bit. Those who are lucky enough to be able to stay home with their kids will probably be happy that they don’t have to act as master of ceremonies for the daily game show, “What Are We Going To Do Today?” In either case, you just can’t wait until they get back to school, and you’re back to packing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and waving goodbye as the bus sputters down the road.
The kids may be back at school and out of your hair, but now all the other stuff starts. You’re driving them to dancing lessons, soccer and lacrosse games, school play practice, cheerleading and birthday parties, and life is zooming by at the speed of light. The house is a mess and laundry never gets done because by the time you return home from all of the activities, you fall into bed and crash to sleep. But autumn turns into winter then spring, and before you know it, summer is back, and you start all over again.
Elementary school, middle school and high school are all whizzing by, and you’re tired and wish you had a life of your own. Before you know it, you’re taking your kids, now sort of all grown up, to college, and you squeeze them so tightly they can’t breathe. Tears are pouring from your eyes, and you can’t stop them. They graduate, they get careers and they’re off on their own, and you sit with that life of your own you wanted so badly where you can do anything you want, except now you don’t remember why or what that actually was.
You find yourself wanting to go back to those lazy days of summer when you ate ice cream cones with your kids on the porch. You want to build sand castles with them and color and play Barbie dolls and have tea parties and make lemonade for their stands, unless they’re like my girls who insisted on selling fruit punch and cheese doodles. You want to recapture those school days all over again and make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but that time is gone – in a wink of an eye.
Summer, autumn, winter, spring; summer, autumn, winter, spring – the seasons come and they go, and you don’t realize how fast until your children are all grown up.
Kids are exhausting and amazing, and the best thing you’ll ever do, so slow down and don’t rush time. Appreciate the precious present and give your kids an extra hug today while you still can. It will be winter before you know it.