Summer has officially arrived here in Wisconsin and along with hot sun, cool pools, and longer days, a new rhythm has evolved. This rhythm has us savoring moments and desiring more outward activities. It seems our rhythm has slowed and elongated. Instead of trying to think of activities to busy ourselves as we check the clock on cold, wintry days, we are glancing at the clock wondering how it is so late and worrying that the kids will get to bed late yet again.Summer with young kids is lovely and exhausting. It’s a bit smoother and more fun, but it also comes with a whole new set of challenges. Since all of us want to be doing and moving outward during summer, I have encountered the challenge of feeling a lack of rhythm to our days. My son especially loves to be outside and doing, and the sound of the door slamming shut behind him as he runs outside to play with the hose for the umpteenth time that day seems to be a consistent sound in our summer days.
The lack of consistent rhythm makes me worried that the kids aren’t getting enough “breathing in” time. The upside is that they have been playing so well together for longer and longer times without needing me. Their imaginative play has been blowing me away! For example, right now all 3 kids are immersed in their play at a local park we walked to. I am sitting about 25 feet away from them writing this blog entry, listening to the occasional funny or imaginative things they say to each other, oblivious to me.
Naps have also been looser these days, with my older two napping less regularly. But if nothing else, I still ensure that we spend quiet time snuggling on the couch reading books or telling stories. Though we get to bed later than I’d like these days, my kids seem healthy, energetic, and for the most part happy. I am learning to let go a bit more, while keeping what I value most consistent.
I am also reminded that like everything else in this crazy beautiful world of parenting, this too will change. Just because my kids are getting to bed late during the summer doesn’t mean we will have this problem come fall when, gasp, my older two start school at Prairie Hill Waldorf School.
This will be another change in our family and our rhythm. Ellia, almost 5, will start kindergarten and Lincoln, almost 4, will attend the Wonder Garden. I know and feel that they are ready and that this will only benefit our family, and I thought I was ready too. But as I look at the calendar and see their first day of school fast approaching, I feel anxious. I worry about letting them go and letting someone else, whom I truly do trust, care for my babes, wipe their tears, offer them comfort, and also keep them in line. I feel they are taking one step away from me and, at the same time, I know they’ll be gaining the vital life skill of learning to trust others and themselves. But my heart breaks just the same.
It’s funny. As a full-time stay-at-home mama, I find times throughout my weeks that I wish for freedom. Now it’s almost here, and I wish I could freeze time. It’s not that I worry about their safety or whether they will thrive, because I know and feel in my gut that this is the right school for our family. I worry because once they leave to go to school, they never stop leaving you. They are slowly gaining the skills and confidence to become independent. This part, where they gain independence by needing their mama less, I’m not quite ready for. Thankfully, gaining independence takes a really long time!
I also learn once again, to slow my thoughts and savor the moments I can. I look, truly look, at my kids each day and see their beauty, their uniqueness, and their growth. This role of motherhood is awesome and amazing, but it is so hard, too. Each day, my heart breaks a little as I see my kids grow. The grace comes in realizing that my heart also widens and deepens as it breaks, and I realize my kids were never really mine to keep and hold on to forever. I just got really lucky that they chose me as their mom to help them along on their path of fulfilling their destinies, whatever they may be. That blows me away and also gives me a deeper sense of purpose.
So, it’s okay that we lose a little rhythm during the summer months. It’s okay that they go to school, trust others and themselves, and grow in their bodies, minds, and spirits. It’s okay, for I get to do the same. I get to trust myself and others alongside my children. I get to continually learn and grow and fulfill my destiny. It may be hard or easy, and I may move quickly or slowly. The rhythm will change throughout the year and, all the while, we’ll be working toward whatever our destinies are, together and by ourselves.
Mara Spiropoulos is the blog coordinator and parent voice for the LifeWays North America blog. She is a recent graduate of the LifeWays training program, resides in Milwaukee, WI, and is a full-time mother to 3 young children. Mara enjoys spending time in nature, reading and researching natural parenting and living, and crafting. She would love to hear from anyone willing to be a guest writer. You can reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.