Yeah! The summer has been a success! We have had a lot of fun, relaxed, played and generally held it together with days upon days of constant close interaction. It’s easy for me because I do miss them all school year, but the challenge comes more for the resident 8, 10 and 11-year-olds. They are at a funky age to say the least in terms of social behavior. I’ve allowed them all their days to have as much freedom of thought and action as I possibly can while simultaneously infusing them with a code of values and appropriate conduct. This has been a very interesting thing beacuse…
They are are individuals. Independent thinkers. Spirited since birth, all three of them in very unique ways. My oldest can’t hold back a complaint. My youngest wants life to be a constant carnival ride. My middle child wants everyone to leave him alone, including me, so he can spend his hours doing the various things he’s passionate about. So I’m left constantly negotiating their opposing views.
But that isn’t really the point of this post. Every summer toward the end I reflect on how much they have grown from the last year and usually come away with a new and deeper understanding of my children and who they are shaping to become in adulthood. Each summer we get a little closer as a family. We go everywhere in the car having neat little conversations where everyone gets a chance to give an opinion or add a thought. We eat our meals together. We go fun places. We enjoy SUMMER all on the same page. I am so grateful for this. I know my kids are a little less independent in some ways because of my constant presence (“let ME wash your hair, you need a mom-job!”)but I’m okay with that. They have the rest of their lives to take care of themselves and I’m sure they won’t be calling me over to suds up their hair or lay out their clothes. I am sure to be aware of the ways in which I can shape them into future good spouses, though! I simply hold them accountable for their actions. I feel that’s the single most important factor in preparing them to integrate into new social situations whether the playground, gym class, college or marriage. Just be accountable.
So we have had our share of stand-offs here this summer too. Pajama bottoms carelessly thrown on the floor, dishes placed on the counter instead of the sink or dishwasher. One day I let everything they did go untouched while I went about my business. Things piled up all day as they failed to put items away after use. By the end of the day I stood there, looked around and asked them if this is the environment they choose to live in. They knew I was busy in the kitchen and had no time to clean the mess, and they did it. I didn’t lift a finger other than to pick up after MYSELf! So far so good. Some days not so good.
Most days wonderful. Thank you angels for keeping us healthy, happy and safe all summer.