We really do only have 18 summers with each of our kids. I’ve had 19 with my teenager, but I think 18 sounds better…and really, the baby summer and the pre-college summer should be combined. So, 18 summers…
Hello friends! I could say that Team Juggling Normal has been on a sabbatical, of sorts, but let’s be real – we have been busy juggling life and doing all the things with our spouses and kids. And, I spent the last few months savoring the time we had left with our teenager at home, and then absorbing the quietness of the house after she left.
I’ve said it before, and it is kind of trite, but also so true: the days are long but the years are short. When we are in the thick of Baby Time, or the terrible twos (or threes, or sevens), we long for the days when our kids are self-sufficient and we can have a quiet moment to ourselves. Every age and stage is an adventure, and our kids make each year fun, challenging, stressful, and – hopefully – happy.
When our oldest was little, I would go to every practice, staying the whole time and watching as much as I could. With our youngest, today? I rarely watch all of a practice – knowing that she can learn new things better without me being there as a distraction, but also that I can get 5 other things done while practice is happening. Juggling all the things means that we have to multi-task, all day long. I have contemplated that a bit lately, and am hoping to find a better balance: all of our kids deserve our attention, and they want the opportunity to show us what they’re learning, so we have to make sure to give them our undivided interest to show them we care.
We only have 18 summers with our kids at home. I know that the teenager will be home next summer – she has already come home once for a long weekend, and we have already made holiday plans. It is wonderful to know that, after a taste of dorm life and sharing all of her space, she does actually like it at home. But, next summer will be different. We know that. She is no longer really a kid, and somehow having an extra adult in our house happened overnight.
Not really – it was a progression through high school, and we are all glad that we survived the Teenagerness moments along the way! The oldest kid is very mature, she cares about people and she does really notice the little things along the way.
Somehow, we did it – we managed to raise a functioning adult who gets how things work, and calls me several times a day to chat or to ask a question about how to do something else. So now what?
Now, we have to survive the pre-teen and teen years with the other two! (We have some time yet, but while many of our friends are becoming empty nesters, we have 11 (?!) years left with the youngest at home).
A lot of what I’ve been stewing about (and having some writer’s block) these last few months is how to juggle my new balance – working more, both from home and from my office, my husband traveling more again, having a kiddo in middle school and one still in elementary school, making sure to get to all of their various (and sometimes conflicting) activities, and still getting dinner on the table every night. So, you know, all the regular parenting challenges we all have and what I’ve had for each of the last 18 summers.
I often say, parenting is no joke. It is hard. Kids are both life’s greatest joy and our greatest challenge – often at the same time.
But, I encourage you to savor every minute. Before you know it, your kids will be off to college, learning all new things about life and sharing and managing their time, without you. Life is an Adventure – I always say take every path and jump at every opportunity, and encourage your kids to do the same. Our teenager has so many fun things planned in the next few years, and I can’t wait to see what she does.
I am not sad. Sending them off to live away from home is healthy, and it is part of Growing Up. And I hope I can make the most of the years I have left with the kiddos who are still at home. 18 summers is so many years when they are little, and so short when we look back at it all. I don’t know how it all flew by – 2004 was yesterday in my mind – and, also, I can’t believe it’s already October 2022.
So, savor every moment with your kids, enjoy the fun in life, and do all the things you can to pack it all into those 18 summers you have with them!