Life is busy for everyone. We as parents run from one crazy activity to another despite the full-time jobs we may have and (sighs) family, friends and life. Growing up, summer was a time that I “played.” I played with my friends and cousins. It was a time to refresh. As a parent I noticed that my children were not slowing down in the summer. Summer was a time that we were adding in all of the things we couldn’t fit in to the school year.
I had a brilliant idea: Lets go up North for the summer. Both Luke and I work from home so that wasn’t a big deal and we have so much family up North, we envisioned the children playing like we did.
I must preface this with: Yes, I know that I was fortunate to be able to spend so much time with my family, yes, I know that they will grow up soon and I will miss these days, I also know all of the things I missed were what people call “first world problems.”
We spent the summer together without structure, internet, TV, high end grocery stores and a hospital within 30 mins of our home. It was fascinating.
Every morning, the girls biked to my 90-Year-old Grandma’s house for Wheaties and ½ and ½ (something I LOVED as a child and still might). She took them to the cemetery, the museum, and filled them with countless stories, hugs, love and history. She was our biggest blessing while we were on this adventure.
Almost every night we had a fire in our fire pit. We perfected S’mores and fire starting. One night, we had a raging fire and while we have a fire ring, I was nervous about going to bed because the fire was still burning (not glowing but burning). I asked Luke numerous times if we should put it out and he said naw its fine, it can’t go anywhere anyway. We went to bed and Iied there thinking “I am going to wake up to this whole place on fire.” So, at 130 in the morning, I turned all of the lights on outside (lit up like a Christmas Tree) and I ran down to the lake to dump water on the fire. I ran back as fast as I could back up to the house and hopped into bed. Luke rolled his eyes so hard I think they stuck into his head. The next night, it was quite challenging to light the fire after I poured half the lake on the wood…
We spent a lot of quality time with Luke’s family, my brother, our closest friends from growing up, and my cousin and his family. Our kids got to spend a lot time with their cousins, children of friends we have known for 30 years, and see (to some degree) how we grew up. It was truly a blessing.
Today my children started school again: Second and Seventh grade and someone stopped to ask how my summer was. I quickly said “great, how was yours?” In talking, I shared what we did this summer and she asked me “what was your biggest take away?”
My biggest take away was this: My immediate family is awesome. They are really cool individuals. They are kind, polite, very appreciative and full of love and I am so lucky to have all three of them. My husband, oldest daughter and myself learned to surf. Countless times I laid in the water (waiting for the boat to come around to get me) and I thought, what a beautiful life to be able to give this experience to my children after I experienced it growing up. Both girls learned to be more independent, greatly developed their problem-solving skills, and fell in love with the Up-North lifestyle.
My biggest challenge was that we were in a small cabin, every day. I swear every time I went into the bathroom, someone had just pooped. Additionally, they used the last tissue of toilet paper and left me with the cardboard. Four people in a small place makes for moments where everyone is wound tight. The kids are arguing, or needing something, or my husband was eating almonds as I am trying to audit 6 months of financial transactions. Next year we will figure out how we can have more space. Luke and I need time without the kids and the kids need time without us and each other.
I am proud that we didn’t just survive it, we filled our lives with love (from ourselves and others) and gained a lot of experiences this summer. We will do it again next summer, but I hope and pray that they finally get my internet hooked up because I am really behind in all of my work.