My kids have been on summer break for 12 days, but my oldest daughter has spent 10 of those days whining about having to “do things” instead of getting to watch TV all day.
My youngest has decided the sister she formerly loved and adored is now her mortal enemy, mostly because of their over-frequent close proximity to one another. She’s also decided she will NOT wear underwear (or pants) until school resumes again in the fall.
They’ve eaten more food than I fed them all last year combined.
They’ve drug out every toy, Lego, necklace, sleeping bag, and stuffed animal they own, having forgotten all about them previously.
They’ve played in the water and drug mud through the house.
They’ve tripped over the cat, gotten bitten, and then begged me to sell the cat.
They’ve stayed up late and turned into irritated little Hulk monsters the next day.
They’ve spilled popsicles on my carpet.
They’ve screamed throughout entire phone calls I’ve made because they “didn’t hear me say I was going to be on the phone.”
They’ve asked me for a drink 372 times because apparently their father is incapable.
It’s been a LONNNNG twelve days, and I’ve begun to wonder if it will ever end. Working and being a student, all from home, is (as it turns out) extremely difficult with two little kids home, especially when they no longer like one another.
But I read an old favorite book of mine this week (Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery), where a little girl grows up before her adopted mother’s eyes and goes away to college. As I read the part about the mother crying herself to sleep the first night her girl was away, I looked up and saw my own little girls playing, “Naked Blanket Train” in my hallway.
Suddenly, their squeals weren’t so distracting and their nakedness so frustrating. It was, in that moment, hilarious and precious. I’m getting to watch them grow up this summer, instead of having to drop them off somewhere every morning while someone else watches them grow up.
I’m getting to teach them about navigating feelings of annoyance and frustration. I’m getting to make their lunches and watch them pour their own bowls of cereal. I’m getting to take them on little trips that we’ve dreamed about the entire school year.
I don’t want to spend the next three months wishing their time away from school would end because I’ll look back and realize all the moments I overlooked. I don’t want to be the reason their break from academics was draining instead of fulfilling.
When I asked the girls what they remember about our summer break so far, they said:
“Eating snow cones with Ninny and Papa!”
“Mixing all the slushie colors together at Silver Dollar City!”
“Going on that hot air balloon ride with Aaryn and Cole!”
“Having Felix and Elsie over to play!”
“Going to Felix’s baseball game!”
“Having a picnic with Dade!”
“Doing that activity where we learned about stone soup and sharing!”
“Seeing Grampy Marty and Bev!”
“Swimming in Ninny and Papa’s pool!”
“Riding in Ninny’s taco (Tahoe) car!”
“Going to sonic to play with Carter!”
The answers just kept coming. Some of those little events, I’d already forgotten about. I’ve felt so busy with millions of plans already that I haven’t much enjoyed all of the plans.
And when we weren’t busy doing something or seeing someone, they were arguing or making messes in the house, and I was wondering if I was going to survive until bedtime.
Isn’t it amazing that children are so much better at remembering happy moments than we are?
We’re so problem-solving minded sometimes that we forget to be fun-minded. Life tries to prune it out of us as we grow older, but having children of our own reminds us how important it actually is.
I’m so thankful for my little babes being home this summer. If this much joy has come from 12 days, I can’t imagine what wonders will manifest over the next 12 weeks.
Enjoy your kids’ summer breaks, friends. Because babies don’t keep.