A Busy Summer

a summer day at the parkWithin a week, my children will be in school, after a three-month summer break. It was a summer I had hoped would be focused on them. Outings. Stories. Fun. Togetherness.

It was, in fact, a busy summer. It began with an in-depth “spring cleaning” (yes, in summer) after my sister and her kids moved out of our home. It continued when my husband began a new work-from-home venture by building a small voice-over studio in our family room. And when I had three separate courses to plan from scratch and prepare for teaching at an adult school: working from home, blogging, and living on purpose. In short, it was not a sit-around-and-relax summer.

But we did some things as a family.

1. We got season passes to a water park and went nearly every week.

2. We took a weekend camping trip, waded upstream until someone spotted a freshwater crab, and stargazed beneath a diamond-strewn sky.

3. Nearly every morning, we read stories from the Bible or a kids’ devotional, or watched a video from the “Creation Today” show.

4. We had a memory verse contest, where every ten verses memorized was rewarded with something special: a sleepover or a special snack.

5. I read stories to the kids nearly every evening. Jessica and I have been reading through Madeleine L’Engle’s “Wrinkle in Time” series. Allen and I, first through The Sugar Creek Gang and then the “Little House on the Prairie” series.

Still, I feel that in many ways I spent too much time sitting at the computer; much of it was necessary work, some of it was unnecessary browsing, but all of it was time not spent with the kids. They keep themselves busy, yes. Our daughter reads books as if we’re about to enter a Fahrenheit 451 realm of existence and she needs to experience every book at least once. Our older son occupies himself with drawing and creates artwork that is beyond my skill level. Our younger son designs complex patterns with his hot wheels cars, and more recently has been expressing an interest in drawing and coloring. I’m thrilled to see them develop skills, create make-believe worlds together, and utilize their God-given imagination.

But I was still feeling guilty and I didn’t do more with my kids. Then I remembered a few summers ago, when I created an intricate summer schedule for myself and the kids. It included learning Spanish twice a week, a baking project once a week, a weekly science class, guitar lessons, times tables, and more. I wrote a blog post about the summer plan, and my mom made the following comment:

We all had certain jobs that were year round. Summers were spent hanging out with friends. When they put a community pool across the street, we swam every day. I walked for miles to visit friends. I played solitaire when I was bored. I embroidered. When we were younger the parents would shove us out the door to play, and sometimes locked it so we couldn’t get back in. I don’t remember my mom having to entertain us. It’s admirable that the kids want to learn and do things. In all your planning, remember: summers are for teachers (and that’s what you are besides being a mommy) to recharge and get things done they have neglected throughout the school year. God worked 6 days and rested on the 7th. Down time. We all need it. Kids too.

She was right. As it turned out, we moved that summer, and much of the schedule went out the window.

This summer, I might not have been doing something with my kids every moment, but they still learned. They grew. And I didn’t have to do it all. I tend to believe that I need to take an active (or over-active) role in the lives of my family, but sometimes I need to let go. Every year, as my children grow, I will need to let go more and more. This includes not feeling like if I don’t do everything I intend to do, I have failed as a mother.

I will never be what I would consider a “perfect mom.” But I love my children. And the times I spend with them are the best moments of my life. Sometimes, I suppose, perspective rather than perfection is enough.

I hope you had a wonderful summer with your children and family as well!

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About Bonita Jewel

Bonita Jewel is an author and blogger who writes on a variety of themes, including: Literature & poetry https://danielandbonita.wordpress.com Writing https://awordfitlywritten.wordpress.com Parenting https://positiveparentingblog.wordpress.com Purpose https://apurposedlife.wordpress.com After living in India from the age of 16 to 28, she returned to California with her husband and three children. She is pursuing a Degree at Fresno State University. Bonita teaches community education at Clovis Adult. Her courses include Blogging Basics, Power Editing, Creative Writing, and Working from Home. She also freelances as an editor, ghostwriter, and writing coach. Her greatest passions are her family, her faith, writing, and reading. Bonita Jewel has been reading since she was 2 ½. Thirty years later, she still loves the magic and mystery of the written word. She is slowly breathing life into roughly 50 novels and nearly as many nonfiction works, depending on which plot or character seizes her interest at any given time. Please connect with Bonita at: https://www.facebook.com/BonitaJewelAuthor

Posted on August 20, 2014, in Life Lessons, Perception, Summer Days and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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