You Only Get 18 Summers with Your Kids

Make every single one of them count.

The most ironic thing I’ve witnessed this summer is observing how busy everyone has become over the past six months.

The pandemic, which had a chokehold on humanity last summer, has been tamed from the help of vaccines. To make an analogy between then and now, it seems like everyone in my social circle was starving and a distant dinner bell rang, and we collectively took off to find a free meal.

Almost every conversation I’ve had with family and friends includes a litany of busy things. “You’re going there? Awesome, we just came from here, and next month we’re going over there.”

“Where?”

Over there.”

“Oh, over there sounds lovely. What will you wear?”

A stampede of SUVs crisscross around suburbia and the calendar of kid’s activities begin to fill up with sports teams, chess classes, guitar lessons, birthday parties, and everything in between.

STOP.

I punctuate the word to make a point. Which is… you only get 18 years with your kids before they grow up and move on in life.

The summers of our children’s lives, those when they are between three and ten years old, leave an indelible impression. The season itself is cemented in their psyche and help to define what ‘summer’ actually means. Between 10 and 14 years old, our children’s worlds broaden and they want to explore further with a dash of independence. Beyond 15—let’s be honest—they want to be on their own.

So the reality is, you only have 12 meaningful summers, which go in the blink of an eye, to share with your kids before they want to make plans of their own.

That’s nothing… and watching our family and everyone around us get busy again made me pause to consider where we were this time last year.

We had a wonderful summer in 2020—sans the day camp, trips to the beach, driving everywhere on the weekends; Our summer was dialed back to a limited menu of activities and friends who, like us, followed quarantine protocols.

It was simple, and it provided time for my son and I to start a garden together, swim in our pool, play board games, we tossed the football around, fished—many times we only had each other in which to entertain ourselves. We loved each other more because of it.

We shared it together as a family, and when I needed a break, my wife took the reins. More often than not, we were a tight family unit complete with a loyal dog and loving cat.

If my son remembers the good times and the best summers, last year was one of them. I wish today I could recall a single summer when my mom and dad represented a loving, caring, and stable family unit. It would have represented an anchor of wonderful memories that I associated with summer. 

Ask yourself how many years you have left after this summer passes… when they leave their adolescent years behind… when that clinginess we’ve all grown weary of dissipates completely.

The time you have left may surprise you.

Before we all get manic planning extracurricular stuff for our kids, let’s make sure the 12 summers we have with them provide a treasure trove of wonderful family memories.

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