“Xander’s singing woke me up this morning,” Mary informed me, “and I knew I didn’t have to go to school because it was his summer voice, his ‘I’m the happiest kid in the world voice.’”
“I’m not kidding!” she insisted when I smiled, “his voice sounded like shave ice and night games and Lake Powell.”
I love summer. I love my household bustling with children and activity. No other season makes me feel so fully immersed in the cliches of motherhood– nagging over chores, packing my bag with snacks and sunscreen for a hike, arranging swim lessons, jumping on the trampoline in the evening light. But it is also a season that frightens me. With my children’s constantly evolving stages and abilities, each summer is different from the last. I can’t really know what our days will bring.
The great evil triarch of summer is messes, meanness and moods. Cleanliness basics such as, ‘if you eat a granola bar throw the wrapper in the garbage not on the floor,’ have yet to be mastered by my household. And there are still children that count teasing as entertainment. Teaching my little people to be kind is my primary objective each day and it can be exhausting.
So, here is our plan for this summer: each child needs to practice his/her instrument, do a few chores and finish a math worksheet before playing for the day (Stefan is exempt from worksheets since I don’t know any post-calculus math. His job is to keep Gabriel on task). And then, the day is free for friends, hiking, swimming, etc. By unanimous consent, we canceled our Netflix membership– which was basically our only form of TV. It sounds a bit idealistic, I know. But our summer is short and fragmented with scout camps, Youth Conference and hopefully a week in both Lake Powell and San Diego.
By August, Mary hopes to hike Mt. Timpanogos (um, yes, fourteen miles round trip) and we plan to ready her little legs by traversing every trail in our local canyon. My middle boys are ambitious about visiting historical sites all around the valley. We are at such a different stage than all those summers I changed diapers at the edge of the swimming pool and sought out benches at the zoo to discreetly nurse a newborn. And though I will always and forever beg Erik for another baby (at least until I have grandchildren), I must admit that it’s lovely to lounge by the pool, tip-tapping away on my laptop while the kids splash and play.
I know all too well how quickly children grow up and move away– I’ll enjoy mine this summer.