It has really hit me this year. Summer is so different with Young Adults in the house. Unfortunately, although things have been changing subtly for the past several years, somehow this year has been the hardest for me. Perhaps it is because our youngest is now “really” independent, fully into her teens and our boys are actually adults. I guess we are realizing there is no looking back.
As you know, Danni and I started this blog to really just tease out some of the issues women face as we age and as our families grow up. This particular blog post has no scientific evidence, nor does it offer any advice. It really is just a MUSING. I don’t know about you, but I love reading something and feeling a connection to what the writer is going through. Well people, I’m going through something right now, and I can’t tell you how to describe it, other than a real pining for the past.
Summer. This is the time, as a stay at home mom, that I got to put the schedules aside, and do fun things with my kids. Yes, the laundry and cleaning still had to get done, and dinner did need to get on the table but somehow coming home after a day eating ice cream at the Zoo seemed more important than all that and dinner still got on the table…eventually. Lately, I have been thinking about the things I miss about not having littles at home anymore and watching how summer is changing both for me and them.
Yup – I miss going to the Zoo, packing a picnic and relaxing at the park. I miss visiting the touristy, sometimes cheesy relics of our city with our kids. They were usually super enthusiastic to go, and if by chance they weren’t? They didn’t have the guts to say so because they also knew they were coming along no matter what! Gone are the days. Now – when I make a suggestion to do something like that, I get one of three things:
- “No – that’s LAME”
- “I’ve got plans”
- An eye roll, followed by the comment “I’ll go with a friend but not with you”
I know, it seems crazy but I really miss summer and The Disney Channel! We used to spend much of our summer in Scottsdale as we had a vacation property there. Some of my fondest memories were the kids coming in from the pool before dinner to “chill.” I loved making dinner while they watched Disney Channel. They all watched together – the oldest to the youngest and as much as they were watching TV – they were not on their phones – they were not “snapping” people. They were actively engaged with each other (and me) while watching. Wizards of Waverley Place, Good Luck Charlie, The Suite Life of Zach and Cody – these shows bring a smile to my face and warm my heart. Really.
The Backyard Slip n Slide
I actually DO miss popsicles and the Slip ‘n Slide. Is it really summer if you haven’t pulled out the slip ‘n slide, set it up, served popsicles, and ended up with a mossy, water flooded mess of grass somewhere in your yard?
It seems only a few years ago that we all went away together (yes, the entire family!!) for three amazing weeks. We boated, we golfed, we just hung out. No plans, no schedule for three whole weeks. Now we deal with full time work schedules that don’t allow vacation time – because, let’s face it – they are only working for a few short months. Training and activities also get in the way. The other things that become important are friends. I once thought that WE would be enough. HA! I was sorely mistaken and now almost fear a trip that doesn’t allow for enough friend / teen interaction. Where our summer used to be planned around that “summer vacay” now days off work are time to re-connect with their social circle.
Can you tell I’ve been feeling a little down in the dumps??
As my husband always tells me I’m a glass half empty kind of girl, I am determined to change that. I have been trying to cheer myself up with the FANTASTIC things that change in the summer when you have young adults. SO – Here are a few thoughts…
There is nothing better than after dinner, long conversations with our teens. They are thoughtful, fun, engaging (when not looking at those phones) individuals and I feel so lucky when they choose to sit with us and chat. We learn about them, what they value, love and hold as important. Of course, we KNOW what we tried to model as parents but it is so interesting to see THEIR perspectives on everything from politics to marijuana.
An equally great thing about having young adults is getting the opportunity to spend time with their friends. We love that our kids all enjoy inviting their friends to the house. They come for dinner, for sleepovers, or just to hang. We LOVE the fact that our kids know their friends are welcome and take advantage of that. There is a certain comfort in hearing teen laughter throughout your house. It might be more precious to us now than it ever was.
** on a side note, my oldest just suggested that having an outdoor beer pong tournament on our sport court would be super fun – I guess I am putting away the slip’n slide for good…
Well – it goes without saying that one of the perks of a home filled with young adults is that we don’t need to worry about babysitters. 🙂 We are certainly enjoying a resurgence in our social life with older kids at home. Dinner parties, nights out, date nights (in fact, we counted three last week!!) have made a return and I have to say, it is kinda cool! Summer nights enjoyed on a patio are now really a THING!!
Bike and Beer
Doing things as a family can be fun in a different way and we are navigating how to make this happen for us. Sometimes it means “forcing” everyone to book a few hours for family time to do something like Rafting on the Bow . Or sometimes it means suggesting a family bike ride downtown for a burger and a beer (what young adult doesn’t take advantage of a beer paid for by their parents) or a stop at our favourite ice cream place. Food and drink are the ultimate influencers!
I guess, in the end this blog post is really just about letting go.
We will always have our memories of past summers. And I hope they remember them as fondly as we do, but it is time for me to put my big girl panties on and face the fact that I have a new place in my young adults life now. I can either mope around – sad that my daughter no longer wants to ride the “RAINBOW” at The Calgary Stampede with me. OR, I can think of ways that I can connect with them on an entirely new level.
And, it’s not all bad… at least I don’t need to wrestle fighting boys apart anymore, clean up melted ice cream from all over the car seat or worry about my kids peeing in the wading pool 🙂
So here’s to enjoying summer with our grown up kiddos! As always, let us know your thoughts!