Childhood. What a beautiful yet short lived time. One of my favorite pages and bloggers, Simple As That, reminded me that there are only 18 summers to spend with our kids before adulthood. More realistically, even, we have much less than that. The summers of spending day in and day out together are much shorter. At a certain point they will want to be more independent and hang out with friends or even later will most likely be working.
It is so important to embrace the chaos that is childhood. Slow down. Sit near a river or creek or brook and listen to the sound of the water, the birds singing in the branches above, notice the limbs full of bright, green leaves. Have dinner in the backyard on a blanket or at a picnic table. Go for walks and bike rides. Listen to the crickets. Catch grasshoppers. Dig for worms. Catch fireflies. Plant a garden. Jump in the puddles and play in the mud. Read a book under the shade of a tree. Paint a birdhouse, hang it where it can be viewed from a window. Search for caterpillars and let them transform before your very eyes. Play in the sand. Swing, giving the highest underdogs possible. Eat sun-ripened berries. Drink from the hose. Jump in the sprinkler. Go down a slide. Let the kids wash the vehicles. Stay up late to go to an outdoor concert. Blow bubbles. Pick bouquets of wildflowers. Watch the bees, appreciate all that they do for us. Soak up the sun. Laugh.
Someday our children will be grown. They will be adults, roaming this world, and I can only hope they will remember their days of summer well into adulthood. I hope that we can keep things simple, doing little things throughout the day to make them feel connected, loved, and happy.
There will be hard days, of course. Even in the midst of the best of days there will most likely be arguments. But these days of summer? They are short. They are few.
Let’s give it hell and give them the summers they will always remember and that they, too, will want to share with their children.