School has ended (for most of us) and summer has officially arrived. No doubt you are feeling the heat on your skin from the warm sunshine that has finally graced our area, and the heat under your skin every time your kids ask you for a snack again and again…and again.
Weddings, graduations, recitals, and holidays surround us. Paired with barbeques, food trucks, and the assortment of summer cocktails, a “summer body” is almost laughable when so many delicious opportunities present themselves.
You have calculated the costs of summer camps and possibly considered taking a small loan out to pay for the fun your kids get to have while you’re at work.
Or perhaps your kids hang with you all day long. In which case you are now additionally a cruise ship director orchestrating the day’s itinerary in order to provide the perfect balance of fun and mommy-doesn’t-want-to-lose-her-damn-mind time.
Vacations, pools, lakes, splash pads, water balloon fights, squirt guns, and new flip-flops for the family are vital topics of conversation. As are the new swimsuits the kids need because the size 4 no longer fits your 6-year-old.
While all this summer’s demands and opportunities swirled in a tornado directly in front of your face, your child grew up.
Another school year has passed quicker than a lightning flash (I literally feel like it was just Christmas). The face of your babe has changed, morphing into more of a “big kid” and less and less of the baby that you have known for so much longer. Along with their height, clothing and shoe sizes, and even their favorite color.
Your child is literally smarter than they have ever been, having acted as knowledge sponges soaking up the information that their teachers spilled. If your kid is anything like mine, that possibly means that they are flexing their newfound brainpower by questioning everything that you do. Like my oldest trying to explain to me that I don’t know how to get to the beach at the lake that she has only ever been to ONE time. And so it begins…
Your child, that you have fed and bathed and clothed (most of the time), is a different person than they were 10 months ago, and that is CRAZY to actually fathom.
Shaped anew by the subjects they have covered in school, the relationships they have fostered with friends, and whatever new “trend” your child has been exposed to that baffles all parents everywhere. FYI – Pokémon is back, in case you were wondering, and JoJo Siwa is a “musician” that I should familiarize myself with, apparently.
I don’t know about you, but I am confusingly heartbroken. My heart nearly bursts open with pride with each of the new milestones that my children accomplish and breaks all at the same time that the years fly by too quickly.
I remember being pregnant, experienced moms and dads telling me that it goes by so quickly. I gave a smile and a nod, knowing that a year has exactly 365 days for everyone and that “warp speed” is not a real thing.
And yet, here I am, wondering how YEARS have gone by and my toddler (in my mind) will enter the second grade in two short months.
And then I try to remember when she was *actually* a toddler…and it seems like it was ages ago. I can’t hear her tiny voice or remember what her favorite show was. What were the funny things that she would always say? It was just yesterday that she was at that age…right?
How is that even possible for me to feel like it was yesterday and forever ago all at the same time?!
Oh, I know…I’m a mom.
My job is to grow with my children. It is to have answers for the questions they pose with each new day, or honesty in admitting when I don’t know. It is to provide for them a safe space for growth, warm space for compassion, and a constant space for love.
I cried on the last day of school…hard. My oldest wasn’t graduating from kindergarten or high school, or even moving from elementary school to middle school. She was just going from first to second grade.
And yet, it felt like it was the end of an era.
My middle daughter will go to kindergarten next year, and she couldn’t be more excited. This means that my oldest will have outgrown my ability to be present at drop-off and pick-up every day. Then, it will just be me and my youngest homie, rolling through each day until it is time to pick big sisters up.
Perhaps my heart is in pieces because my kids are growing faster than I can catch up with them. Perhaps it is because I fear the day they don’t want to “play” anymore (insert ugly cry here) and would prefer hours of talking to a friend instead. Perhaps because I don’t yet know how to handle tears from heartache and would prefer to kiss boo-boos instead.
Regardless, I know that the summer fun that I can provide for and with my kids has a secret expiration date on it. Therefore, I will be doing my very best at making sure that we have fun. Which means possibly throwing a middle finger at the dishes in the sink.
That we adventure and snuggle and laugh and nearly forget the principle of “showers” (swimming counts, right?). That I pack as much into summer as *I* can handle because I know that it will truly not last forever. It is that of which I will remind myself when I get asked again for a snack, or when I have to buy another graduation card for a fellow parent that time has passed all too quickly.
Long Live Summer,
A big thank you to all the amazing parents who shared these photos with us to use for this article! Our babies are growing up so quickly!
Jenelle Stathes married her high-school sweetheart and they share their love with their three darling and fierce daughters. She works as the CEO of their small family business and as a group fitness instructor for a local gym. Jenelle was born and raised right here in Reno, Nevada, and is doing her best at living a non-judgy and tribe-loving mom life. She has experience with infertility, weight loss, body positivity, fitness, and most recently, a tummy tuck. You can follow Jenelle to laugh either with her or at her as she traverses through the daily adventures of motherhood.