If you are anything like me, it’s right about now you start to have summer coming to an end anxiety. Not because I’m not ready to go back to school or because I’m not ready for my kids to have some structure in their day to day but because I begin to wonder about all the goals I set for myself as a parent and person and question how close I got to achieving them.
I write this post for so many reasons but mostly to tell all you parent’s out there that may be having the same anxiety I am about going back to school (or your kids going back)…you are enough. You did enough.
Did your kids have fun this summer? Did they laugh? Did you drive them to a summer camp? Did you swim with them in a pool? Did you go to a zoo, on vacation? Did you look your child in the eye and nod in excitement like it was the best story ever told when they told you about their day in a way that should have taken 12 seconds but instead took an excruciatingly long 3 minutes? Well, then you did just fine!
Truth be told, none of the answers to those questions above matter at all. The most important question you can ask yourself, in my honest opinion, is, did you give your children your love and your time? Whatever you did with them doesn’t matter…at all. All kids care about is your time. If you gave them that, you did a rock star awesome sauce job. Pat yourself on the back. Celebrate your own awesome. We parents don’t do enough of that. It’s ok to say, wow, I did a good job and feel pride in your accomplishments.
Instead, let’s take this time, when the angst of summer coming to an end is creeping up on all of us and reflect on all the awesome we DID do with our kiddos instead of all the things we didn’t. I challenge you to make a list of the fun you had with your kids, I bet you’ll be surprised.
So as I sit here struggling to sleep, as the summer rapidly approaches an end…I challenge you to find time to celebrate those moments this summer when you gave your children the most important thing you could, your time, and celebrate that!
So in the spirit of that…I wrote myself a pep talk. Just insert your name where mine is, as I am sure it will apply to you as well. I hope it makes you feel better, lessens your anxiety, I know it did mine. #celebr8awesome Enjoy!
Dear Nan (insert your name here),
You are enough. You did enough. Your kids had an amazing summer. You were there the first time Finley and Cooper did a flip off the high dive at the De Soto pool and the first time your 5 year-old Fiona jumped off the high dive. You were also there when your sweet 7 year-old Ellen, wanted so badly to do a flip of her own, but never quite got up the courage. You were the one who gave her a pep talk about how her ability to flip off the high dive was neither important or a problem she needed to worry about.
You were also there the first time Fiona got the courage to try to illegally go down the slide (she’s not tall enough supposedly) and you saw the look of satisfaction on her sweet little face when she got to the bottom and she realized she beat the system.
You applied sunscreen 3,809 times this summer. No really, that number might be pretty darn close to accurate. You reminded your kids to wear their hat an equal number of times.
You pushed your two year-old, Fletcher, on the swings over and over and heard him say “more wing mama” and laugh like it was the best time he ever had. You also celebrated that he put three words together in one sentence, because, yes, that’s a big deal for him right now and you work so hard on his speech.
You went to summer baseball games in the rain and heavy wind. You drove kids from one camp to the next and had jam sessions in the car on the way.
You played baseball, soccer, basketball, volleyball, driveway kickball, had relay races, went on bike rides, went roller skating and had frequent dance parties. You took your kids to movies, on several mini vacations and even cooked together.
You built towers and read books and snuggled on the couch. You went to the zoo, numerous times. You fed the goats at Deanna Rose and watched your 2-year-old attempt to tongue kiss every single one of those goats every single time you went and chased him around reminding him how disgusting it is to mouth kiss an animal. You listened to your oldest four ask the volunteers at Deanna Rose dozens of questions about Native Americans and banks and why they can’t get their hair cut in the barber shop.
You had conversations in the car and at home about things like Jesus and the importance of being a good leader and how each of them got out of your body (that was a fun one). You tried to convince Finley that dancing is cool and he should totally be a participant. You watched old family videos with your kids and told them how things used to be when they were “little”. You showed them pictures of your wedding day and explained to them the significance of the people in the pictures and why it was one of the best days of your life.
You kissed boo-boo’s and had play dates and drew pictures, colored, sang songs at bed time, gave the extra hug and kiss and even swam in a lake. You did things with your kids they have never tried before like paddle boating and jet skiing and you went on their first “big kid” roller coaster with them. You took them to your home town to visit your family and friends and told them stories about when you were little.
You let them stay up late when you had friends over and catch fireflies and eat s’mores. You played with Fletcher’s guys and animals, put together puzzles and tied more shoes than you could possibly keep track of.
You see, I know you Nancy. You are kicking yourself right now for the times you lost your patience because you couldn’t handle one more argument about something insignificant or because you had to repeat yourself 12 times to get one simple command followed. You are worrying that you didn’t sign them up for enough camps or that you didn’t “enrich” their little lives as much as you hoped.
The truth is, you are right, there are things you didn’t do. That Pinterest board you started of activities you were absolutely going to try this summer didn’t happen….again.
But you know what? That’s totally fine. You were enough. You were a rock star. Quite frankly, you kicked this summer’s ass. Your kids think you are a super star and that they had the most exciting summer of all time.
Because quite frankly Nancy, the bottom line is, you gave your kids the two most important things you could this summer…your love and your time. At the end of the day, that is all they care about.
So this week when you were trying to leave the house for your first day of in service and your 2 year-old grasped you like the jaws of hell screaming “mama no go bye bye” when you were about to commit the heinous crime of leaving him while he drank his smoothie, breathe it in. He wants you to stay because you are awesome and when you leave he will be over it in .5 seconds, so don’t flatter yourself, walk out the door. Even though as he pleaded with you to sit with him and that moment crushed your soul in a way only a parent who feels guilt leaving their kids can know…remember that at that same time, his big brother Cooper came up and said “Fletcher do you want me to sit with you while you drink your smoothie and then we can play tractors with your guys?.” Your heart melted then. You taught them to love each other, to help each other, and in that moment, they did just that. Fletcher looked at his brother, loosened his hold on you and nodded his sweet little head. Off they went together hand in hand. Your heart was full in that moment. You saw the fruits of your labor. You win!
So, no, you didn’t spend as much time doing sight words or math problems as you should have. You didn’t make it to Kaleidoscope like you had planned but you lived the heck out of your time with your kids this summer.
I’m sure it’s because of your recent attitude adjustment in your quest to celebrate all things awesome that you feel more accomplished in the mommy department this summer because I’m not sure you did anything differently than summer’s past.
I know you applied sunscreen 3,809 times…at least. I know you went to the pool far more often than you would ever hope to (that’s pretty much any amount of time over zero) and I know you saw your kids laugh, smile, cry, create, imagine and destroy. And I know you enjoyed every moment of that awesomeness. So raise a glass, watch a show or eat a cookie, whatever blows your skirt up, but celebrate your awesome tonight. You did enough, you are enough, you did well!
P.S. Just in case you forget, I put a few visual reminders below for you. I know you too well…
Roller Skating remembering the good ole’ days!
Navy Pier for the 1st time in Chicago! This picture was taken right after we got off the Ugly Duck boat ride…our first time out on Lake Michigan as a family!
The day you took 6 kids under 7 to the zoo.
Shortly after Mr. Mark’s basketball camp you all ran through the fire hose. It was hot out so that was a bonus!
Jet Skiing in Branson at the 2017 Dorsey family cation’!