Friday, August 2, 2019

Savoring Summer

Change is coming? Can you feel it? I have found myself savoring summer these last few weeks. Pausing to soak it all up, and marvel at what is right in front of me. Summer is the perfect time to pause and enjoy life and the stage you are currently in. Maybe it's because it's the only time all year that there is very little forward motion, more time to be still and focus on the joys of life and motherhood. No school, tests to help your child prepare for, lunches to pack, doors to rush out of, or stress to make sure milestones of learning are being reached. Just carefree lazy days to truly appreciate life without a lot of the responsibilities that come along with the school year. The days aren't perfect, and when I find myself starting to get frustrated with my kids or lose my patience, I try to remind myself that these days are precious, and try to refocus on the beauty of what is right in front of me. I am in a season of savoring.

I think the driving force is that I know change is on the horizon, in more ways than one. I know these beautiful summer days are fleeting. Only 12 short days remain before my boys first day of school. For me, savoring the beautiful summer days consists of appreciating what I have right now, because with a quick glance ahead and behind I know it will never be exactly this way again. What I mean by that is, change will occur, it's inevitable. It will happen slowing, change is sneaky that way, going unnoticed for awhile, ushered in without a grand entrance. There is no fanfare, no marching band to parade by to signal we are about to leave one stage or milestone behind and head into a new one. One day you look up and see that it has arrived. Next summer my five boys will be one year older. They will enter new stages and without me even realizing, they will be on to new interests and milestones, leaving ones that I so love behind. So, I will pause, and soak it all in because this is the only summer that they will be 12, 9, 6, 4, and 2 again. 

I've experienced a bit of that change already this summer as my oldest is beginning to leave childhood behind and head into the teenage years. I have noticed it slowly over the summer. He didn't jump at the chance to experience some of our favorite summer outings, as he has in years past. He would ask if he could stay home, instead of going on errands with me and the boys. For the first time, he was too old to jump in the creek and splash around the waterfall, and was more focused on keeping his shoes clean and dry than stomping in puddles. Times are changing, and while I know a whole new exciting world awaits him, and me as I parent in this new phase. I also look back with a fondness of just how sweet it was to have them all in the same plane of childhood. I know that I am entering uncharted waters, which is exciting and scary at the same time.

Savoring summer is realizing that children grow and change so quickly, so it's imperative to pause to soak up the moments with these little people at this moment in time. One of the most magical moments of summer two years ago, was captured by my neighbor, as we went on a creek adventure for the first time. Lincoln, was three and a half months old. He was strapped to me in the carrier, and would gaze up at me, lock eyes, and smile big toothless grins over and over. It was heart melting. Something I will never forget.

That sweet baby is now two, and was not having it that I was trying to keep him by my side, nervous that he was too little and not ready to venture out and jump in the watering hole at the creek with his big brothers. So, after his protest, in he went. Still wanting his mommy's hand to guide him into the waters, but then so independent to let go and swim on his own. Moments to savor.

What are some practical ways I am savoring summer?

1. By documenting, but not too much. I have always had a love for photography and I love to capture my boys with my camera. But I've been intentional this summer to spend the first few minutes taking some photos, and then put my camera down to be fully present with my boys in what we are doing.

2. Focusing on the details, like watching their little hands as they roll cookie dough with the rolling pin. Watching their faces as the concentrate to decorate their cookie just so. Watching Jack's face as he reads to me from a library book. Listening to the cute way they say certain words, because all too soon, they start saying them correctly. Taking in how excited they are to run around with our puppy in the back yard, or how quick they are to fight over who gets to give the dog his new bone. Focusing on little things that I will miss as they grow.

3. Pausing to jot down the memories. Whether it be in a journal. Or on the notes app on your phone, or on the Project Life App as you make pages for your family year book. Check out my post on preserving family memories with the Project Life App HERE, for more info. Try to jot down the cute things your kids say, or the new thing they have learned before you quickly forget. Life moves so quickly that if you don't pause to jot it down, it will pass you by. Flipping through our family yearbooks is something my kids love to do, and you can relive the moments and memories over and over.
4. By turning memories into keepsakes. The boys and I recently spent time taking the sea shells we spent hours collecting on our beach trip this summer, and turned them into ornaments and mementos that we will see often around the house. With one glance at the glass sea shell jar that Jack made, the memories of our uninterrupted time as a family on the beach come flooding back, and I can't help but smile as I put the boys laundry away in their dresser. He picked out glow in the dark glitter to add to the bottom of the jar, so it also glows at night when the boys first turn out their lights to go to bed, a fun touch that he thought of all on him own. I love his creativity! 

I can't wait to watch the boys hang their new sea shell ornaments on their personal Christmas trees in their room this Christmas.

So, from one mom to another. I encourage you to pause and savor your children in the coming days and weeks. Take in their little laugh and jump in to participate when they grab your hand. Savor them at the age they are now, while you can because change is waiting around the bend.

 What are some ways you are savoring summer with your kids?

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