I’ve heard the countdowns before.
18 summers. That’s all you get with your child.
A few more if you add more kids. But still, only 18 with each child.
Make the most of it. It’s always a short season. There are never enough days to do all you want to do. Chase the fun.
I do stand by soaking up all the fun you can possibly find from a good summer. I wrote about it before. I hashtagged it too. I was raised by a summer mom and I will spend the rest of my 18 summers left as a mom with kids in the house living up to her example.
And yet this summer, I knew I needed a bit of a shift in perspective. You see, I come to you today with that puffy glow that only a full term mama knows how to rock. I’m down to a handful of things that fit. I walk a mile or just stand in my kitchen to wash up and I am laid up for the next 24 hours. My body oven is cranked to broil at all hours of the day and no air conditioner/ceiling fan/floor fan combo is enough to keep this body temp comfortable (poor husband who spends his evenings shivering under a down comforter.) And let’s not even begin to talk about what I look like on the beach. Needless to say, #summermom in the final weeks of pregnancy doesn’t mesh well.
But then again, neither does fourth trimester Mom. The one that stumbles around the house in a constant state of exhaustion, sweaty even still with the hormonal changes, and who keeps counting her children wondering if she has forgotten one somewhere, or so I envision myself in 3 weeks time. That mom is likely not the best mom to plan a curriculum themed craft or pack the car for a multi step adventure.
So this is where Grace steps in and says “let it go, mama.”
And so I will.
And yet still, I have been looking forward to this summer more than any summer for as long as I can remember.
A big part of that is there are no moves happening this summer.
But an even bigger part is the mantra I decided to lead with.
“We were together. I forget the rest.” - Walt Whitman.
Oh Walt. Such a romantic.
I have often scene this as a quote for love and marriage. It’s a beautiful message for that. Starting off a life together and realizing that everything before that person no longer matters.
But I stumbled upon the lines and somehow saw it for what I needed at that moment.
I realized beyond the beach visits and the park picnics and the sprinkler runs and the ice cream tastes, what I was really looking forward to the most this summer was being together.
While I can’t lie and say being done with pregnancy is a major perk, I am just so eager to meet this new little Nevergall in 3 weeks time. I am over the moon thrilled to see who I knew all along would complete this family. And welcoming this new baby into our family will be the ultimate “being together.” Because we will all be here. Finally. Together.
And also baby snuggles. Because come onnnnn.
But even further beyond just being together as a new family of 5, we are also looking at 6 full weeks of being together ALL of us with Caroline on summer break and with Mike’s incredible gift of family leave (Bravo Gustavus. Bravo.) So while much of those 6 weeks will involve a whole lot of needed self care from a surgery and newborn needs and readjusting to that life, it will also be such a joy to have both of them with us for that long. It means less worry about schedule. It means in the best days of Minnesota we’ll have more opportunities to explore, to adventure, or to just let life be fun.
I started to make a Summer Bucket List to capture all these adventures we might do. And then I let my good friend Grace speak a little louder. “Just be together.” She said. “Forget the rest.”
I don’t think she wants me to forget the memories, though. For there will still be memories. There will still be park visits and beach swims and lots and lots of ice cream sampled (most of which will be consumed in this 9th month of pregnancy.) Its impossible to not have fun with children in the summer. So to honor that, we don’t need to set goals to complete. We just need to notice.
We need to notice those moments when we did have fun. For fun will follow when we just try to be together.
Instead of a bucket list this year, we decided to do a Reverse Bucket List. I did one before and I loved the idea. For seeing the great things you can accomplish when not trying too hard can bring such satisfaction. Instead of writing down what we want to accomplish and then checking it off as we go along, we are writing it down as it happens. And it works. In only one week of summer we have already begun to fill in that list. I’ll admit I hit the first week hard knowing I will slow down as the due date approaches. This week has already been quieter. And that’s ok. That’s the point. To be together. Notice what we did. And forget the rest.
What am I forgetting?
I am forgetting how many times I am asked for a snack or is it lunch time yet or what’s for dinner or can I have another popsicle?
I am forgetting the whoas of never ending potty training.
I am forgetting how my house will never be clean and will always be covered in a layer of sand.
I am forgetting how many times I hear “I’m bored.”
I am forgetting how many minutes/hours are spent in front of a screen.
I am forgetting what I see others doing/accomplishing/experiencing on social media and how many times I feel guilty/envious/judgy.
I am forgetting their crankiness.
I am forgetting my crankiness.
But the good parts, the fun parts, the ones that I hope stick from this summer are those I hope never to forget.
The ones where we were together.
Definitely aligned with my plan for Enough.
That’s one summer in the countdown to be proud of.
So tell me, what does being together this summer look like for you?