When I sat down at my desk this morning, I fully planned on writing something lighthearted and funny about how I will not be making my children any “summer-fun activity charts”, or “chore charts”, or any other kind of charts for that matter. Because anything that requires me to drive to the dollar store to buy gold star stickers and poster board, create a whole point-system, and then keep track of that system sounds like a lot of work and is quite simply too much for me right now.
To be totally honest, keeping track of anything other than what’s for dinner tonight is quite simply too much for me right now.
Then I was going to write something really poignant about the beauty in the slower rhythms of summer, or how spring has birthed a lot of new life into our household- metaphorically, of course. Calm down. We are having no more human babies over here. Just know that it was going to be a beautiful piece.
But as I sat here sipping my coffee and staring blankly at the bright green field showing off just outside my window, I found myself wondering why on earth I feel so deeply sad and tired this morning.
Is it just the busyness?
Is it the breakneck speed and fever pitch of our daily schedules during this season of wrapping up the school year? By the way, all of you east-coasters can just stop it. Is it not enough that you get to be a whole time zone ahead of us over here on the west coast? Is it not enough that you get to watch the Game of Thrones finale two whole hours before we do, singlehandedly keeping us off of Twitter for fear of spoilers? (And you know how much we love our Twitter).
It’s not enough. You must all apparently add insult to injury by finishing school two whole weeks before we do.
We see you. We see all your pictures of kids doing cannonballs into pools, eating Popsicles, and going to beaches. We see! And we raise our fists of fury in the air, because we still have to pack 10 more school lunches and set 10 more alarms and sit in 10 more carpool lanes.
But I don’t think that’s why I’m so sad and tired this morning.
Is it the low-grade stress and anxiety that have taken up residence in the back corners of my mind lately because I keep saying Yes to all manner of new, scary, and uncomfortable opportunities? However wonderful they may be?
Is it the inevitable exhaustion that accompanies exhilaration? Am I simply learning that doing hard things completely fills me up, but also completely empties me at the same time? Do I need to start saying Yes to carving out periods of rest also?
Maybe it’s the residual mom-guilt that’s bumming me out, because I feel like I’m not enjoying my family as much as I want to during this busy season. Maybe it’s the fear that Summer will not swoop in like my hero and make life feel simple again.
Yes, I think that’s part of it.
While I find myself in a thrilling new season of transition and growth, part of me is grieving the end of an era.
For the bulk of the last 9 years my life has been very simple. My days were spent at home with my little kids, making too many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to count and feeling vexed after every single trip to the grocery store. My days were tiring but they were SIMPLE. Writing wasn’t even on my radar yet. We weren’t flipping houses in our “free time” yet. The kid’s hectic sports schedules weren’t even a thing yet.
Now my littles are becoming bigs and my dreams are growing bigger right along with them; and I wonder if all the complication and excitement that comes along with that is what’s making my soul tired?
Part of me longs for those years of simplicity; for rocking babies and holding them close and not worrying about anything else for a time. The other part of me wants to chase God and my dreams into this next season of life where I know nothing is simple, but adventure awaits.
Last week Husband and I called a family-time-out. We cancelled our plans, we let the kids skip soccer practice, and we all hopped in the pool because summer fun waits for no one. As we floated on giant tubes and ate orange vanilla creamsicles, I told him about this bone-deep, soul-weariness I’d been feeling.
He felt it too. He’s been doing new and brave things all his own. We both agreed that all of the growing and stretching and saying Yes has been downright good for us. But we also feel the need to need to curl up into ourselves for a while and rest. To press our ear to the heartbeat of our own lives, as Emily Freeman always quotes, and to listen to what it’s saying.
Maybe our time-out made us feel mischievous that day, or maybe it was the heady cocktail of sun, water, and ice cream, but we looked up at each other from our floaties and decided right then and there to officially deem this THE SUMMER OF FUN. Yes! This is exactly what we need! We high-fived. We felt so smart- until we told the kids about it and asked for their suggestions, which was obviously a conversation that got out of hand very quickly, with pleas for no bedtime, candy for dinner, and a trip to Disneyland. One of which might actually happen.
This morning when I sat down with a cup of coffee and my tired and weary heart, I came across this post by Shannan Martin and I found myself blinking back tears because I connected so much with her words about rejoicing and being sad. Then I clicked over to one of my writing forums (because yes, this is how I procrastinate when I’m supposed to be writing), and found there were at least 7 people over sharing their feelings of guilt over their other feelings of being behind and overwhelmed and maybe even a little bit sad.
Maybe I’m not just being weird and dramatic!
Maybe this is totally normal!
Maybe this is just what happens during the last week of school!
This is one of the reasons why I love the Internet. For all of the surface-level interactions and seemingly unrealistic versions of people’s lives, there are those brief and amazing moments when you find other people being real and it makes room for you to say, “Me too”, and breathe a little easier.
So if you, like me, are feeling soul-tired and in desperate need of a Summer Of Fun, I thought we could try something. However we’re able to steal moments of joy this summer, or create a sense of fun in both new and ordinary ways, or even when you try to make fun happen and fail miserably (which happens on the regular, because CHILDREN), let’s share it with each other. Leave a comment here, or tag me in a photo on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and use the hashtag #summeroffun!
Here’s to keeping it real. Love you guys.