At 27 years old my idea of Heaven is sitting poolside on a hot summer day sharing a lounge chair and quartered strawberries with my one-year-old daughter. She’ll never remember this summer, but I will.
Right now I feel so fortunate to have the blissful opportunity to make my daughter insanely happy by doing whatever I feel like doing with her. She has no expectations for summertime and frankly doesn’t even know what summer is. All she knows is that when I tell her to get her shoes she knows that mom’s taking her on an adventure. She stands at the garage door yelling, “go, go, go!” because she’s excited to do just that – go.
I know that this season of life is fleeting, and I occasionally put pressure on myself to put aside all household chores and other responsibilities and just parent.
The problem I have is that as much as I get a natural high from spontaneous fun with my child, I thrive on a routine that I just can’t chuck out the window because it's summer.
I’ve frequently heard the saying that “one’s chores can wait because while the house is tended to, the children are growing up.” The truth is that I just feel like a better, happier mom if I can juggle the things I need to get done while also soaking up many precious moments with my daughter. By looking at the mounds of baby clothes she’s outgrown already, I’m sadly well aware that she’s growing up much faster than I’d prefer.
So my only realistic goal for this summer is to daily find a balance between personal goals (i.e. working out, blogging, laundry, cooking) while also making time to get the little kid (my daughter) and the big kid (me) out of the house for at least one fun summer activity per day.
For this mama, this formula creates a lot of guilt-free, in the moment, happy, happy memories.
And about those summer activities…
I simply cannot get enough of actually swimming with my daughter. Her belly laughs when I “disappear” under the water and “magically” pop back up are OVER THE TOP ridiculous.
I absolutely love using my toddler as an excuse to go down the water slide 12 times in a row. I mean, if she keeps running back to it we HAVE to go down again, right?
I love plopping on a friend’s couch and having grown-up conversations while our little ones play with cars on the living room floor. My daughter has no idea that I consider this “taking a break” because she’s discovering and learning through play.
I forget about every single adult stressor in the world when I’m at the bottom of a big slide coaching my daughter how to go down it correctly for the 10th time in a row. I’m intoxicated by the huge smile she flashes me when she gets to the bottom, and I feel proud every time she breaks away to run back and do it again (and again and again).
I love taking evening family walks up the street and back while watching my daughter collect a dozen things (pinecones, rocks, leaves) along the way.
I don’t know how to measure if I’m doing a good job at being a parent, but when I see my child happy and laughing my whole world just feels right.
God willing, I’ll get 18 summers with my daughter to make beautiful memories before she launches as an adult, and though she’ll never remember these first few, I know that I happily will.