When Summer Goes Better Than Expected

Two months ago, I was convinced I needed an amazing summer bucket list to get through the weeks ahead. I thought I would need special activities hidden away, a plan for each week, and plenty of discipline to survive the summer with both kids at home. And while there have certainly been challenges, there has also been… joy. Simple joy.

I think I was worried about the kids being bored, and feeling like I needed a prepared response to that boredom. There are tons of “boredom buster” ideas on the internet for moms–just take a quick glance at Pinterest and you’ll see a few hundred. And then there’s the other side, the articles about why it’s good for your kids to be bored and how we need to stop scheduling every moment of our kids’ days. I knew my own opinion fell somewhere in the middle, wanting a balance of activity and boredom for all of us this summer. But even that can turn into “scheduling boredom” and over-thinking each day. Gradually I realized the answer was even simpler: just show up each morning.

The idea of being present in the moment is one I have been working on for a long time. (In fact, my very first blog post was on this same topic.) My tendency is to rush into the future, at least in my mind, always thinking about the next thing. I think being a mom fosters this type of thinking, as I’m constantly feeling the need to be one step ahead of my children. But I love this quote from James Bryan Smith:

“I had been thinking a lot about American ‘hurry sickness,’ always being in a rush, and the causes behind it. Hurriedness is an inner attitude that is not necessarily caused by out circumstances; boredom is one of its symptoms. The solution to the problem is counter-intuitive: being present where you are.”

So this summer, whether we were at swim lessons, or Legoland, or our backyard, I have tried to be there. To not spend my time thinking about the next thing. To wake up each morning, figure out what needed to be done that day, and to know it was enough. To stop and see my children in all of their 5- and 8-year-old glory. I was created to be their mom, right now, in this place, for this summer. I’m relaxing into that more each day.

The summer list has been great, and we’ve done a lot of the things on it. And several things will remain undone as the summer comes to a close. I’m not one who likes to leave things unchecked on the to-do list, but I am giving myself permission this time. Because showing up each day has been more important than fitting it all in.

May you find joy in the showing up.

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