Last year, a particular phrase started popping up around the internet that caught fire– the concept of Eighteen Summers. You know, how we have 18 summers from the time our kids are born until the time we ship them off to college. As is my nature, I started to panic.
Eighteen summers? EIGHTEEN SUMMERS? And I’ve already wasted 5 of them? ACK! I need to catch up! We need TO DO ALL THE SUMMER THINGS!
Then summer arrived, and I had deadlines to meet and kids to wrangle and I just could not get my rhythm. It was a hard summer. I was stressed. My kids were little, it was difficult to find any particular pattern that worked for us. I stayed up really late finishing blog posts, and waking up early with the kids, therefore getting very little sleep. It was exhausting and not very summer-y. Suddenly 18– wait, no only 14 more– summers filled me with panic; I’d just wasted one of them. No wait, four of them. Or was it six? YIKES! TOO MANY NUMBERS!
I vowed to do things differently this summer. I decided not to take on any paid posts aside from what I’d already committed to, and instead let my own content take center stage. Guest posters helped provide content with some great recipes in our Summer Salad Series. Instead of 3 posts a week, if I only had one really good post, I’d be totally cool with that. I promoted older posts and hoped they’d help pay the bills. The strategy worked and I had the highest pageviews yet! But most of all, instead of saying no to outrageous ideas like hiking with the kids solo or making the 9 hour trek to the Outer Banks to spend a few days with friends, I embraced the word YES. I said yes to just about everything that came our way.
We became butterflies.
We got field seats for Billy Joel, and then got MOVED UP TO THE FRONT ROW.
We dressed up like Jamestown peeps, circa the 1600s.
We took the stairs. Okay, maybe not these stairs.
I hung out at Haven, meeting this guy (Chip Wade) and seeing good friends.
We ate ice cream. A LOT.
We rode the rides.
We slid down tree slides.
We (um, I) drank by the pool.
We were in the water (and our pajamas) every chance we got.
Even this guy.
I got on a plane. Three times.
We got our good clothes dirty while running on the beach with friends.
And we hiked through 27 spider webs.
Thousands of miles on the odometer later summer is finally, oh-so-sadly, over.
This is ONE SUMMER. Instead of stressing over making the most of 18 summers, we embraced our crazy.
Our crazy ONE SUMMER.
Summer didn’t end with a whisper. It ended with us squeezing in every ‘YES’ I could find. Every treat. Every 6PM trip to the pool for one last swim. Every rock they jumped and each puddle they splashed. It’s as if we’re sliding over homeplate, worn out and happy and tan and sunbleached and ready.
Ready to drop my daughter off at kindergarten, and amazingly shed not one tear.
I was emotional, sure, but how could I cry? I had an extra year at home with her, and to see her walk away with her class as they headed into the school building was incredible. This was a child who wasn’t supposed to be able to walk, let alone attend kindergarten.
Yet, here she is.
We squeezed all we could out of summer. No matter where we were, we were ALL THERE.
Life is so short. I can’t fathom 18 summers right now. I don’t know what will happen, how many summers we’ll really have together.
If our experience taught us anything, it’s to embrace gratitude and live for the moment.
Today as I vacuumed the beach sand and goldfish crackers and stickers out of my car with my little buddy by my side, all I could do was smile.
Well, smile and dream about next year. Our next ONE SUMMER.