A few weeks ago at work I overheard a fellow mom complaining about summer. She was moaning about having her kids’ home all day, dreading the whining, and was already counting the days until school started back in September. When I told her I enjoy having the kids home for the entire summer and dread September she laughed. She said, “Your kids are young. Just you wait.”
I didn’t argue. I never do when someone who has lived through parenting a little longer says something like that because in many cases I’ve eaten my words later. Before I was a parent I had a lot of ideas. When I became a parent I realized that many of them were crap (please don’t tell my kids I said that word). Now being a parent is a year to year process. Chris and I have a set of rules we adhere to, punishments we agree on…We will be consistent. We will follow through. We will support each others decisions. We will love our kids. We will pray a lot. And we breathe.
Before I had kids I said I would never ever let my children cry it out. But that was also before I had a child who camped out on my breast. Before I became a lactating pacifier. I read all the books on getting kids to sleep. Did all the methods. Nothing worked. I went in after 5 minutes and rubbed Jonah’s back (exactly like the method said) and his head practically spun off. It only made him more ticked. So I let him cry it out. It was hard, but with in four days he was sleeping through the night. I did it with the other boys and it worked. Never say never. And I don’t because Grace has to start the process again next week.
I also said my kids would never have a game system. When I was pregnant with Jonah I worked with Middle Schoolers, and I saw how obsessed the boys got with their game-boys. “Never,” I said to Chris. “I don’t want to have a kid who will become a man and be obsessed with some video game.” Since I was very pregnant Chris agreed with me. And I stuck with that. I said with great conviction the same statement to my friend Teresa too. And she laughed. She has boys who are older than mine. But I was convinced. In fact I never even knew Jonah knew about gaming systems until my Dad was visiting for his preschool graduation. We went to Applebee’s to celebrate and my Dad asked Jonah is there was anything he wanted. Not missing a beat my oldest said, “I want a game boy. But my mom isn’t a fan.” Later that afternoon my Dad presented Jonah with a bright shiny game boy…and a 22 rifle. Because nothing says preschool graduation like a game boy and a gun.
Before I tackled my dad, Chris took me in our room and said we could limit it. That we would limit it. So I relented. And it has been a great thing. The kids take turns. Play it in the car on long car rides. It is incentive for getting piano practiced and beds made. It is limited. And the gun…it’s locked in a safe. For the next twenty years.

“Just you wait.”

We are in the second week of summer vacation at our house and I still love having the kids’ home. We are sleeping in, going to swim lessons, playing in the back yard, and enjoy cheering Chris on at his softball games(fyi: his team is called the Street Sweepers, and he’s the only one who is called Officer Yummy Pants). My only complaint today is that we ran out of milk again (boys drink a lot of milk), and my face is covered in mosquito bites from a weekend visiting Chris’s 92 year old Granni in Illahe. We just got back from the library and my house is quiet with two nappers and two very content readers. Blissful.
In the past few years I’ve grown a lot and for the better. I’ve seen that bad things can happen in an instant. That the world can turn upside down when you least expect it. But if you wait it out, good things can come out of even the worst situations. And while I’m not over it, I can grow from this. I have grown from this. And I will seize ever ounce of joy out of every day that I can. I will never have my laundry put away completely. I will never be clutter free. But I will laugh with my kids. I will be consistent. I will dance with them. I will teach them to pray. Instead of losing it on the worst day when everyone is whining, one has a fever, the other peed all over the bathroom floor and Grace refuses to be put down…I will breathe.
Maybe that’s what I like about summer. You are surrounded by the opportunities of “I get to,” rather than “I have to.” And maybe you’ll have an idea of how the day will go and it will be completely different. There are endless possibilities. Limitless opportunities.
And maybe someday I’ll dread having them home. I’ll be over the whining and be done with summer. But for now I know I’m one of a select few that love having them home for these months. So far I’ve never been that mom waiting for my kids to grow up so I could have a life again. I’ve never pined for nights away, when a workout or a nap will suffice. Someday all too soon they’ll be gone, and my house will be silent. And I dread that. I really do.
Its summer and I don’t have to wait for anything…I get to be with my kids, love my husband, and try not to scratch the mosquito bites on my face. It may not last, but today I’m a fan of summer.

I want to dedicate this blog to my good friends Renee, Kati, Koya, and my sisters…who totally get it.