Remember last summer? And, of course, I don't mean your last summer, I mean my last Summer. Remember how I was trying to be a good mom by planning at least one exciting fun thing a week? Well, this summer feels quite different. In fact, this Summer, fun simply won't leave well enough alone! It keeps zipping and dragging us along with out me ever having a moment to stop and think whether or not I have any interest in the fun at all. We have already hurdled right through the entire first third of summer, and the fun wasn't even supposed to begin til July!
At first I didn't realize this was going to happen, so I tried to take some initiative by carting my kids to the dinosaur park, etc. But then summer just grabbed hold of us and threw us into day trips to Bear Lake, and parades, and little carnivals, and fireworks, and little water pads with cousins, and swimming lessons, and friends.
Abe and Daisy also started on instruments this summer -- which is all they are doing (oh, plus scouts for Abe and Achievement Days for Daisy), but it is strange for me. I enjoy it on one level, and it worries me on another. I like being busy and I like seeing them involved in things, but I also miss a little our slow unfilled summers of yore. I know that probably sounds crazy to some of you, but I keep remembering when they were all small. Even when I had baby number four, Abe was just out of Kindergarten. They were involved in nothing particular. Summer days didn't really seem much different than any time of year -- it was warmer, there might be a few more fun activities with family, but it was still just me and my little ones filling our days with whatever suited our fancies. Now, it seems our days are beginning to fill of their own accord.
I do feel blessed to have my days busy and happy and full of good things, but then I get a little worried thinking how I only have two kids getting involved in outside things, and wondering how life will stay calm when I have five or more involved in things. And that is a funny strange thing in and of itself because I feel very strongly about not wanting our lives to get over scheduled and so full of "good" things that we aren't just here as a family much of the time. At the same time, there is a lot of pressure that comes as your kids get older to get them involved in things. Some of it is pressure. Some of it is a "keeping up with the Joneses" feel -- where you don't want your kids missing out on learning to sew and paint and sing and play sports and play an instrument; but a lot of it is legitimately wanting to offer your kids every good opportunity to develop talents and learn new skills and be involved in things that will increase their confidence and allow them to give joy to others.
I think I worry even more about this than some because I don't want the fact that we plan on having a large family to end up being a limiting factor for what my kids will be allowed to do, but, in truth, it will be. There is no way around it. Two kids can be involved in three different activities each and it would only be about the same amount of time spent away from home as my kids each having one activity. I don't know how to balance all of it -- to make sure they aren't shortchanged but not to lose the calm of a non hectic and not overly busy life. I don't want them to resent things or feel cheated. I don't want them to miss out on any fun thing. The Spirit then tries to whisper to me that these are the last days and that there are strong and amazing spirits waiting to come here -- needing good safe homes where they will learn about their Savior and what this life is all about -- and that really, that is more important than the fact that they might not feel as cool in high school if they didn't learn enough early on to be a stellar basketball or soccer player. Still, seeing the pace of life picking up and changing from the days of having only very little kids has me thinking and worrying about all of these things.
So, this summer really HAS been fun. In fact, it has been actually the perfect amount of busy things going on and down time to just be. I love having places to be and things we need to do, but it is also nice to have a some days totally free. Sometimes, admittedly that means kids begging to watch too much TV or getting into more fights than is good, but it also means me being able to organize them into doing some responsible chores, games of Uno and Connect Four, lots of reading, being free to go visit family or do some spur of the moment thing, and lots of creativity. The past two days alone, Goldie and Daisy (with absolutely no guidance or suggestion on my part) have made a doll house out of a box -- with cut windows and doors, painted gold and pink and orange walls, dolls and animals made from leaves, sticks and buttons, pictures hanging on the walls, furniture, etc. They have also made party hats, snowflakes, masks, glasses, calendars, paper plate spiders, flags, home-made shoes out of cardboard, and various other clever little items.
Now, I should sum this all up nicely with some thoughtful remarks, I think -- rather than end abruptly, but I've gotten out the thoughts I wanted and I have no real closing remarks other than adding that I do love my kids so much. I feel so grateful that I get to have them and raise them and be here with them and listening to them and the cool things they say no matter how much of a balancing and guessing act it may involve.