I sat down today to make my summer list – you know, the master list of all the wonderful memories we’re going to make, places we’re going to visit and activities we are going to do that will undoubtedly make my child love me and crown me Mother of the Year by the end of August.
It’s foolproof! Foolproof, I say!
Well, until I made my critical mistake. I searched on Pinterest for these words: “Summer Activities for Kids.” At first, I was thrilled by the amount of summer fun lists and crafts and recipes and make-your-own everything from soap to slip-and-slides.
But then, reality set in. I can’t do all this. I’ll never be as fun as these moms. Who has time to make a tadpole life-cycle diorama after scooping up the squirmy little guys from the neighborhood creek? I’m a failure.
This summer is doomed. Doomed, I say!
It took a moment to talk myself down. I reminded myself that Pinterest and mommy blogs are full of snapshot moments in time. No one does educational, fulfilling, bonding activities every day. Right?
I also reminded myself that there is a balance – I just need to find it. On the hand, you have the moms with the poster-board size lists of 100 things they are going to accomplish this summer. On the other side, there are the moms who put Dora on loop until September rolls in.
I hope to land somewhere in the middle. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of ideas there are to do during the summer with kids. And it’s easy to get sucked into the trap of spending time shopping for supplies, planning endless activities and then being so exhausted by the time you actually have time to spend with your kids that you give up and declare yourself a failure.
So I’m picking my few favorite items from the infinite summer to-do lists, but I’m also leaving lots of time just to be together. Because the one thing I can count on is that the summer will fly by all too quickly. And when it does, I won’t miss the projects or the crafts or even the vacations. I will miss my daughter.
My favorite memories are the ones that happen spontaneously: flying a kite at dusk on the beach. Catching fireflies in the backyard. Laughing at a chocolate-stained moth asking for “S’more s’mores please.” Those moments don’t come from a summer to-do list or someone else’s blog. They are all mine and they are forever.
I keep coming back to this question: How will I feel when my daughter walks away from me in the fall to start another year of school?
I don’t want to feel we spent a summer posing in picture-perfect Pinterest posts. I don’t want to waste my precious time with my children chasing an elusive idea of the ultimate summer and the perfect mom. Instead, I hope I soak in my children this summer and enjoy the one thing that skitters away as quickly as those first fall leaves: time together.