Every now and then I catch myself looking at my boys. Bewildered, I wonder when did they get so big? It’s cliché, but it seems like in a blink of an eye, I no longer have toddlers. They’re now full sentence-saying, playground-playing kids. Where does the time go?
This is an age-old wonder, and I’m not presenting any theories on the space-time continuum, but rather, as summer approaches I am attempting to slow it down and squeeze every last minute out of it. When I consider how I want to spend those minutes of these next three months, it’s an easy answer; with the people I love, creating lifelong memories to look back on fondly and to maximize our time in the great outdoors.
Yesterday, my mom-friend turned down another playdate invitation with a sigh-induced eye-roll, “I have to run errands.” Which got me thinking of all the “running” around we do. With our kids out of class, we are presented with days to fill. And in years past, fill I did. Keeping myself and the kids busy gave me a sense of accomplishment as I ran them to-and-from activities and endlessly tried to cram more and more into less time.
What I hadn’t considered was that perhaps this fast-forward, meals-in-their-carseats lifestyle wasn’t enriching my kids’ lives in the ways I had hoped. After all, my fondest childhood memories come from days spent climbing trees, catching frogs in the creek, hunting for fossils in the sand dunes and running barefoot through the sprinklers. When I paused to think about it, it hit me. This is another example of less is more and this is why I vow to simplify our summer.
I vow to sign up for less and plan to say no a lot. Keeping our days free of excessive organized activities allows us to be whimsical and go where the wind takes us. We are outside on every rainless day. We will be playing in our backyard, hiking Taylors Falls, biking around our Saint Paul neighborhood and beach bumming at Nokomis and doing every other “ing” you can do outdoors. They are truly great after all.
I vow to give myself permission to work less. In the summer months, I am a stay at home mom so the housework will be on the back burner of a range top that isn’t even on. In theory, if we are spending most of our hours outdoors, it shouldn’t get that messy (insert fingers crossed emoji).
I vow to be present. It seems ridiculous to say, but often, I have realized I am not. Especially around the ones that I love the most. I have been a victim of my device becoming my vice. And I will not let mindless scrolling interfere with family time. Technology has made our lives more efficient and connected, but also more disconnected, distracted and superficial. Not to mention the quickest way to squander an hour is to log onto a social media outlet. That’s an hour of summer, lost.
Instead, I will allow myself to be bored and observant. To be quiet and pay attention to what I am doing, while I am doing it. To be mindful of spending more time on what’s truly important and the things I am passionate about and less time on what’s not.
With these vows, I hope to prolong our summer. With sun-kissed skin and scraped knees, we will stop to smell the flowers. They are finally blooming after all.