Getting my two girls, ages 5 & 8, ready for bed tonight, we talked on the subject of the summer. They are headed to Kindergarten & 3rd grade in the morning, and we know the question “what did you do this summer?”, will be asked to them by many.
Here’s what my summer was and wasn’t. It was horrible and wasn’t fun. There, I said it. I had a friend decide I wasn’t her friend, and block me out of her life for good. That stung. And frankly, I sometimes feel like we were robbed of our summer. June was spent with a sick husband who didn’t feel up to swimming or doing much because he was always sick with a “sinus-infection-soon-to-be-cancer”. July was spent in and out of doctors offices. July 19 was the horrible day that changed the rest of our summer (and fall!). No more waterpark trips. Not many more days swimming. Too many doctors appointments, trips to have scans done, a hospital stay too! Our trip to my parents new house in Arkansas didn’t happen. I didn’t get to buy my kayak to take down there to spend a week kayaking with my kids and parents. I didn’t get to take a long weekend to San Antonio or Austin. Like I said, I feel robbed of a summer, and it was stolen and wasn’t good.
But then my kids. My sweet daughters (my son was happy spending every day playing his video games, so he wasn’t in on this deep conversation haha). They gave me perspective. Made me look at things differently.
Olivia first said, “We didn’t do anything fun this summer, because we didn’t clean our playroom like mommy asked”. Well, she’s right. I had to be the bad mommy and cancel our plans many times this summer, just because I gave them a task to complete and a fun reward if that task was completed. It wasn’t, so I wasn’t able to give them the reward. No Chuck E. Cheese. No trampoline park, nothing big like I had tempted them with.
But then Macy put Olivia’s thoughts into perspective while I listened and learned.
Macy said, “Well, we did get to go to Hawaiian Falls. And we did go see Despicable Me 3. And we got to go paint ceramics with our friends. And we got to stay up late and sleep in the living room.” Olivia got excited and joined in Macy’s joy of the small things they did get to do this summer!
I apologized to them. First, for not getting to take them on any big vacations like some of their friends took. For not going to see more movies or doing more fun things outside of the house. But then, I apologized for thinking that that’s all that mattered. I told them that our summer was kinda postponed for awhile when daddy got sick. They were excited that daddy was doing well, and that this cancer wouldn’t last forever.
Their idea of summer. It was fine! It was fun staying up late and sleeping on pallets in the living room. It was fun getting to paint with our friends. It wasn’t bad at all!! YAY, God!! He puts the joy in their hearts that I, too, needed to find tonight.
Saying goodnight to my girls was easy. They are very excited about heading to Kinder and 3rd grade tomorrow. They’re excited to hear the stories of their friend’s summers, and happy to share their own.
And me? My summer that was and wasn’t…. It’s just been postponed. We have another summer next year, and even if we face more battles, more friendships gone, more dirty rooms with unrewarded children, it’s still coming eventually. Now we move to another season, another reason to be joyous.
Let’s embrace not what yesterday brought. Not what couldn’t or didn’t happen. Not the bad stuff that brought you sadness. But what lies ahead. Another chance to have joy, to share joy, to make friends and share stories of those things that made you smile.
Summer break is done!