Summer began at the Burns household yesterday. No, we are not out of school yet. And no, it was not exceptionally hot. But Summer began just the same. Summer began because Mommy chose to be in a Summer state of mind!
I think the season I enjoy the most during the year is Summer. To me, Summer is carefree, fun, lazy, days where we laugh and play and get very little done other than just being and enjoying. Enjoying each other, enjoying the weather, enjoying the extra time that comes along with more daylight. Summer seems to equal less stress to me. Perhaps because the kids play outside more, or because we have less commitments in the Summer - no school, less daycare kids. For whatever reason, Summer is the season that I seem to enjoy most. Being a mom and playing with the kids is exceptionally easy for me in the Summer.
My Bible study topic this week was "The Seasons of Parenting" with the scripture being Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. "For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven." You probably know the rest. If not because you read the Bible - then because you've heard the song by The Byrds. The study challenged us to look at parenting as an activity that has stages or "seasons" that change as our children grow. Each season has different challenges and requirements, different ups and downs, different demands on a parent's time and energy. It is important for us to have a healthy sense of the season our family is in as well as the needs that accompany it. With this perspective we can adjust our dreams, goals, and priorities to be realistic and match the possibilities and demands of each season.
I realized right now, Matt and I are in a young, early, new season of parenting. An infant/pre-school season. I see it as "a time to build" the foundation of our family with careful, constant instruction and training. This season is very demanding, time-intensive, hands-on, and all encompassing. When I sat down to think about what my goals and priorities for this season in our lives as parents include, this is what I came up with:
- Giving our children a strong foundation, Family is most important
- Keeping them fed, dressed and healthy
- Teaching them they are unconditionally loved by God and Us
- Building in them a sense of independence and a strong self-esteem
- Leading them, by example, towards a high standard of moral values and convictions
- Encouraging them to love learning and school, to take pride in being their best
- Protecting their innocence and fun, happy spirits
- Fostering the friendships they share with one another as sisters and brothers
Knowing that ultimately God is in control of the seasons of life - and that there IS a time for everything - encouraged me to try and control less and enjoy more. It is very easy to get wrapped up in the business of daily life and become overwhelmed with "getting it done." Breakfast time, school time, Lunch time, nap time, activity time, Dinner time, Bath-Book-Bed time! Another day cut up into increments that make it manageable - and yet monotonous. Another day lost to the grind. Another day where what was really important got "squeezed out" by the pressures of time and what was coming next.
After studying this lesson, I awoke Thursday with a new sense of peace. There will be a time where we buy a home. It is not horrible that we rent the four walls we live in. What is important is what we FILL them with. There will be a time where the house stays clean. It is not the end of the world that everything does not have a place. There will be a time for the kids to enjoy every extra curricular activity possible. It is not hurting them to be home - playing, imagining, creating, and being together with us. There will be a time when I am more of a priority. It is not a disservice to put my young children and husband before myself. There will be a time when Matt and I can steal a few days away together. It is not going to change our love for one another to be focused on our family right now.
I decided I want more "Summer" days in our lives - no matter what "season" we are in. I want more days where being a family and having fun take priority. More days where this fun is child lead and kid directed. Fun that is stress free, unstructured and unscheduled. I think it is times like these that are most often "squeezed out" when we get caught up in the logistics of daily life.
So yesterday morning I decided to have the whole day be what the kids wanted it to be. We had French toast for breakfast, painted our nails when Wyatt took his morning nap, packed a picnic and took it to the park, came home and played in the pool a little too long, went down for afternoon naps almost an hour late, and let the girls stay up while we watched the Laker game after dinner. They rolled around giggling on the floor, having fun being silly sisters! They went to bed almost giddy, it was such a fabulously fun, easy, carefree "Summertime" sort of day.
There will be a time for everything. Now is the time to have fun being a family. Now is the time for Summer! Hope everyone has a great weekend!