I wrote a “What I’m Into” post and had fully intended to share it, but honestly? The thing I’m into the most right now… Is survival.
I know people love summer. There are so many reasons to love summer. But I find myself more overwhelmed than I ever am making school lunches or setting early alarms or remembering to get backpacks ready to go. I know some of this (or all of it, if we’re getting technical) is my fault. I planned a full, busy summer. I’m the one who decided we need to go spend long days at splash pads and beaches, we need to stay up late and wake up slowly, we need to suck the marrow out of summer while we can.
And in a Pinterest/Instagram/Facebook world, it’s hard for me not to want this. Not because I see other moms posting fun summer activities and I feel inadequate — it’s because I see other moms posting fun summer activities and I want in! But as much as I love to plan, I’m careful to save precious moments of down time so my kids have the opportunity to be bored. Great things have come out of this boredom. Boone and Jonah are playing together like they never have before. Boone’s writing stories and creating recipes. Jonah’s singing familiar songs and making up new ones.
It is beautiful, and I’m tired.
To wish for fall and winter is to wish away the summer when my kids were 5 and 2, and I don’t want to fast forward through any moments of their lives.
And yet, I struggle. Summer is hard. Free time is hard. Knowing that I’ll give Boone up for the majority of his day once September hits is hard. Knowing that Boone desperately misses the unique schedule and structure of school and takes it out on me by being crazy is hard.
I don’t write any of this to be negative. I write it to be real. Please remember that behind every smiling Instagram picture is a mom barely keeping herself together. Or a five year old who really needs a solid night’s sleep. Or that there are huge heaps of sand-filled laundry just outside of the frame. I know that my kids are happy and thriving. I know they are smart and as protected as can be. I know that deeply, strongly, and intensely, they are so loved. When I think of this, I know that I am not failing as a parent. I know, even on the hard days — the days where everyone screams and fights back and refuses to sleep — even on those days, I’m raising little men who will do great things. And while I appreciate the truth of this, it doesn’t make the long, hot, crazy days of summer always run smoothly.
Sometimes I pray for easy, good days. Sometimes I recite Psalm 23 when my patience runs especially thin.
He restoreth my soul… Lord, restore my soul…
And He does listen, He restores, but do you know what verse I am reminded of the most?
In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world. -John 16:33
The first time I heard this response to a frantic “LORD, JUST HELP ME THROUGH THIS” prayer, I almost laughed. It seemed like a joke. I know you’ve overcome the world, Lord. I’m just asking now that you help me overcome potty training.
In this world you will have trouble… In this world, you will have a toddler who consistently removes his shorts and pees on the floor. In this world, you will have a five year old who wants to be fifteen and do things on his own. In this world, you will have messy floors, and piles of laundry, and breakdowns that result in your purchasing specialty syrupy latte drinks despite “not eating sugar.” You’ll have awesome, memory-making days where everyone laughs and gets along, and terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, Alexander-type days. You’ll have summer. Or winter, if that’s less your thing. Or Spring. (I refuse to believe Fall is anyone’s least-favorite season; at least not anyone in Michigan.)
I have overcome the world. Whatever your world is at the moment. God doesn’t promise ease. He promises He’s been there first. He’s seen my summer; He can count the good days and the bad days. It isn’t always easy, but it never needs to be lonely.
For this, I am grateful.