Yesterday was our last day of summer vacation. Girls started back to school today and even writing that, it doesn't seem right. Wasn't it just June and we were getting out of school for summer vacation? Weren't we just on a plane to Italy to begin our 7 weeks in the motherland? How is it possible that it's time for me to send my 8 and 6 year olds off to school for another year already?
I read recently about this idea of just 18 summers with your kids and it's something I can't shake. Going back to the internet to find the source only led me to a hundred (give or take) articles, posts or book narratives on this very subject matter. Obviously there's a lot of us out there thinking about how fast time is going with our little ones. And it is going fast, technically I'm 8 summers down and only 10 to go with my oldest. That's incredibly depressing to think about. As if I needed another thing to remind me of how quickly my little loves our growing right before my eyes. The piles of shoes in my laundry room that no longer fit my girls should be evidence enough of how big they're getting.
While it's helpful to have these reminders out there that this time is precious, it's also making me worried that I'm not making the most of my time. I'd like to think I'm an involved parent. I craft, bake and play with them, we do mini-field trips to fun places, surprise fro-yo mornings, gelato afternoons, we read together, go to movies and parks and even the occasional pajama/let's eat whatever we want day. Am I not doing enough? Are the things I'm doing the right things? Do I have time to squeeze in one more activity to prove that I'm enjoying every minute with my children? I think the answer to these questions are all yes AND no.
Of course there could be more that I could do. Yes, I could make time to do one more activity with them. And yes, while the things we do may not be awesome/crazy/fun ALL the time, they are still things I'm doing together with them or for them. But what do I do? I beat myself up after reading something that I already know. I know our time is precious with them, I know it's going so fast and I know that I want what's best for my kids and to be a part of their lives.
I don't want to knock the things I've read of only 18 summers with our children. There is truth behind those words and the writing in all I've read is a beautiful reminder to hold onto what we have for as long as we can. Make the most of our time. But what we shouldn't be doing is losing sleep over not getting in one more game of Old Maid, another trip to the park or going around the block for a bike ride "just one more time." You do what you can. And if you're being completely honest with yourself, only you know if that is too little, too much or just right.