We are summering SO HARD over here.
My kids have forgotten they ever attended school. When they see pictures of their class Christmas party, they claim they weren’t even there. They have amnesia about how homework even works.
We are now summer people. The kids are not taking long baths, they are jumping in the pool, and we’re calling it good.
They have traded the red polos and khaki shorts of the school year for three days straight of athletic shorts and the sameVBS T-shirt. This is their July uniform.
Yes, we used to eat bacon and eggs for breakfast, but now it’s Nutella and chocolate milk, with a side of Oreo yogurt.
In May the kids had school projects, track, baseball, soccer, and swimming to keep them busybusybusy. But now? It’s pjs and audiobooks until at least noon. Yesterday, one of them mentioned a bloody nose that he was “too tired to deal with.” We have become a household of sloths. Our biggest accomplishment is a trip to Target. It is summer.
For me, this is both the sweetest time of the year (literally, considering all the ice cream). But it’s also the most challenging. The kids and I wrap ourselves so fully into each other’s schedules and days, I lose track of myself.
During the school year, my days have a Rhythm of Independence. I need some time to introvert, to write, to exercise, to have long talks with dear friends, to pray, to spend half a day on a new recipe.
Of course I can do all of this with my kids in tow. But at some point, that’s against the purpose of the activity. Cooking is therapeutic because of the quiet it creates in my own mind. Much of what I do with friends these days is to talk about my kids, the same the little darlings who would love to permanently attach themselves to me.
And so, it is July, and I am thinking a lot about boundaries. Specifically, boundaries around my time and space. Specifically boundaries that create independence for me and my four children.
Usually boundaries lead me to a NO mindset. NO one in the kitchen right now. NO, you can’t watch this with me. NO it’s not okay for you to come on a walk with me.
And although, my kids need to hear NO sometimes, I’m trying to apply what I’ve learned about self-love to the summer.
I’ve been asking myself this important question: “What do I want… more?”
The answer is usually a deeper desire than I first thought.
I go from “I want to purge these closets” to “I want to feel in control.”
…From “I want to binge on podcasts” to “I want to quiet my mind.”
…From “I want to sweat” to “I want to feel healthier.”
…From “I need time with my friends” to “I need to connect.”
It’s when I’m in touch with that deeper desire that I can confidently say YES to my deeper desire.
This is also the place where I can say “no” to the other distractions. Sorry, dear daughter, I can’t swipe through Pinterest with you, I have an appointment with myself to go for a run. Sorry, dear son, you’ll have to ask your brother to play catch. I’m making this curry.
This works for all of us. I can stick to my yes better when I know I’m saying yes to the deeper good. When I realize what I want more, it works better for me to say no to all those surface, cheaper things (I’m looking at you, cake-ball breakfast on the couch.)
Here’s to the summer sabbath, to this different season of deep rest, and to taking care of myself in the middle of it.
Wishing all of you the chance to discover what you want MORE this summer.