How’s your summer going so far? Mine’s been that delicate balance between savoring the sweetness and checking things off the to-do list. Isn’t that how life usually is, as grownups?
I look at my kids, young as they are, and I marvel at their ability to just be. They wake up and ask, “What are we going to do today?” The night before, they didn’t need to brain dump or check their to-do list; they simply hit their pillows with summer-tangled hair and limp limbs, exhausted from all the running and tree climbing.
Ah…. to be there again. Or, do I really want to? Because after all, being a grownup has its perks. We have a keener ability to savor the summer days, fully aware of how fleeting they are. We know that ice cream really is a treat—money doesn’t grow on trees, after all.
Here are a few ways I think I’ve got a leg up on my kids right now, summer-wise.
1. I make my sweet treats count.
Kids may be blissfully unaware of the sugar content in a popsicle, but I argue that’s the reason it’s all the more special for us. We know it’s best to make these indulgences count, and as such, we savor them more.
Kids often move from one craving to the next. We know to delight in that succulent treat and to make it a highlight of our day. Man cannot live on ice cream sandwiches alone.
2. I know the secrets coming ahead.
We don’t tell our kids about future fun because once they know, it’s ALL they talk about. Early in our parenting, we made the mistake of telling our oldest about her birthday several weeks before the big day, and it was all I could do to not pull my hair out from her constantly asking, “How many more sleeps until my birthday?”
Whenever we’ve got an upcoming vacation, a grandparent on her way to visit, or even a day trip out of town, we don’t say a word to the kids until a day or two before. It saves our sanity.
But us? We get to anticipate the upcoming fun and plan accordingly. Think of the delights behind planning a vacation, not the chores.
3. I get to enjoy late summer nights.
Sure, our kids go to bed a smidge later in the summer than they do in the school year, but as young as they are, they miss out on the late summer nights—and that’s one of my favorite times of day in these hotter months.
In the south, it was the only time that wasn’t utterly and ridiculously hot, so we would reward ourselves with an outdoor conversation watching the fireflies over a glass of iced tea.
Now in the northern part of the U.S., I slip on a cardigan with a cup of hot tea and marvel at cooler temps in the height of summer, often near a fire pit. The kids get this a few times over the season—we grownups enjoy it nightly.
4. I’m the cruise director.
Sure, there’s a sense of adventure for kids, who wake up daily to “What are we doing today?” But as a grownup, it’s really up to me (okay, us) to decide whether today we’re going to the library, the pool, or the volcanoes. If we’re too tired to spend another day at the pool, I can simply decide we’re not going, and read a book on the couch instead.
I understand that there’s value to not constantly going going going, and the reward for that is a sweet rhythm of our days. We move, and we rest. And as the parent, I’m in charge. What kid doesn’t want that?
I still look at my kids’ carefree abandon with a bit of envy, but really, I think I have a leg up on them. My summer days are full of appreciation and gratitude for the seasons in life, and my kids’ summers will too—one day.
In what ways do you better appreciate the summer as an adult?