Here it is, the middle of August already, and I have no idea how we got here. Summer is coming to an end before I even settled in to its peaceful lack of school schedules and routines. There was so much I wanted to do, because my oldest two children are at the cusp of leaving childhood far behind. They’re teetering on the edge of becoming a teenager, the oldest of those two is fully embracing life as a tween right now as I write this! (And I’m still contemplating the age old question: Why do babies grow so fast!?!) Summer kicked off with a bang this year, giving me arise to think this one would finally be different from all those of past. This summer we would be able to do things, go places, have many adventures as a family. This summer would be exciting, fun, full of new experiences.
The first weekend the kids had off from school, we took the four kids on a kinda-sorta camping trip for the weekend at our local family camping and recreation area. My mother had rented us an enclosed frame tent, which is essentially an open walled A-Frame building with a canvas tent cover over it, and we were lucky to get the one right off the beach path down to the lake. The kids had the time of their lives spending two whole days rolling in sand and splashing in the water. It was everything I wished our first family adventure to be like. And more. None of us wanted to go back home, but home was waiting for us, along with all of our responsibilities. We settled back into our normal summer routine of lazy mornings, bustling afternoons full of running errands, late dinners, and fluctuating bedtimes for all.
The days kept passing by in our laze, no one was keeping track, and no one seemed to care. The kids were enjoying this time off from the continuous whirlwind the hubbub and commotion of the school year stirs up. One day, recently, I genuinely went about thinking it was Tuesday all day, and only when I saw all of my neighbors’ trash out for morning collection when I switched my porch lights on at dusk, did it dawn on me that it must actually be Thursday. Apparently, I somehow skipped over Wednesday. Not recalling even the slightest bit of it, after seriously racking my brain, until I realized I was remembering two Tuesdays back-to-back. Brain fart! The days just begin blending in with one another when there’s no lunch menus, classroom activity schedules, or daily extracurricular classes to help me keep track of which day is what, because not much else in life as a stay-at-home-mom, revolves around the days of the week. They become rather indistinguishable from one day to the next, especially when technology allows you to program appointments to alarm, eliminating the need for a wall calendar. Except Sundays in our house, though. It’s Daddy’s only day off to share with his family, so we always know the day is a Sunday when Dad isn’t going into work, for no reason at all. (Just trust me, you know when there is a good reason, because it means he’s extremely sick and no one hears the end of how miserable gee feels! Lol. He’ll never miss work unless he’s close to dying)
When the fact of the kids going back to school in merely four short weeks had first dawned on me, I started freaking out in my head. Questioning my abilities as a parent with depression. Had I been on a low without knowing it and left my children hanging, wishing I could shake off the fog? Had I left the boys, particularly, disappointed in me while the days passed by us, because they expected more? My thoughts spiraled like leaves falling from trees after a swift Autumn gust of wind. Was this summer even fun enough for any of them, even the girls?! Did I miss an opportunity to tighten the bond between mother and sons before those trying teenage years sweep in and pull us apart with hormones and angst? I let my anxiety get the better of me in this consuming moment of self-doubt, which is something I’ve struggled with for as long as I’ve had depression. In the back of my mind, I knew I was being unfairly harsh and malevolent with this impromptu personal performance evaluation, and I wasn’t going to let it take me out. Time to use the battle tools I’ve picked from victories of the many previous fights, learning along the way what works best to face each component of my Depression.
After getting a grip on those rambling, runaway ruminations feeding the monster within the darkness, I was able to step back and see the big picture come into focus. It was crystal clear to me now. This would be a summer the boys could remember with joyous nostalgia and, not, bitter resentment, like the cantankerous, oppressive voice of depression tried tricking me to believe. Why? Because the finale was yet to come. Summer wasn’t over! It was coming to a close, but we weren’t done with it, yet. By all technicality and accuracy, the last day of Summer wouldn’t actually fall until two days after my first son’s birthday and on the day of my second son’s birthday on September 22. We had big plans for their birthdays this year, to celebrate my oldest entering middle school and becoming a full-blown tween. We were surprising them with their first ever trip to Cedar Point. Without their annoying little sisters! So, even with school starting in a few weeks, summer can still go out with the same bang it came in with. Plus, I still have four weeks to cram in every park, beach, baseball game, festival, pool, playground, and zoo trip I’ve forgotten to plan in the last eight weeks of pure, blissful dilatoriness and lackadaisicalness. In fact, «« that’s the most effort I’ve put into this vacation from keeping pace with the real world…. looking up those two new words for the term laziness!
You know what I realized from that near-heart-attack-causing moment of depressive anxiety which put life back into perspective for me? It’s a beautiful thing to take a step back and live in complete simplicity. I feel so much more connected with my children then I did during the entire last school year. We’ve talked more about ourselves and the ways of life then we have in the past, especially my boys and I. I watched them be just kids in their molds, always changing from one day to the next, because they own who they are. More than I can say about myself on a bad day with my Depression, so it means a lot for me to see my children learning life lessons I’m not always good at teaching. They didn’t feel influenced, pressured, intimidated, conscientious, under fire, or in demand once during the last eight weeks. The boys played Minecraft and the girls watched spider dissection videos on YouTube to their hearts content. We learned about love and loss when our puppy was stolen, and how to use teamwork to organize search parties and driver flyers. We watched dozens of movies, cuddled together with buckets of extra buttery popcorn. We had ice cream sundaes for lunch, breakfast for dinner, and pizza for breakfast on more than a few occasions. We chased ice cream trucks and rescued an injured bird and duck. We watched a kitten grow up. Nanny (grandma) came in for a visit and the kids got to really love on her for the first time in three years without her idiot new husband interfering. We caught fireflies and took moonlight walks, went to a few amazing fireworks shows, and stayed up super late playing Zombies Pillow Attack. I think that’s quite a lot of fun the kids will all remember, even my grown-way-too-fast-for-my-liking boys.
This damn Depression of mine will always try to find a way to butt in and rain on my parade, but I’ll be ready each and every time to catch it red-handed and send it packing again. I know I’m the best mom my kids could have been blessed with, just as I have the greatest kids a mom could have ever dreamt of as a , with twists, turns, and drops you never see coming, screaming at the clouds for the universe to just let you off the hell ride already. Yet, other times, it’ll ostensibly slow to a crawl, allowing you to experience every passing second with your full lot of senses, taking everything life offers up at full-impact. It’s when life puts you in this place, where you can take it slow and easy, in which you’ll find yourself with a summer’s worth of memories to take away in your heart. Summer came in with a bang and is going to roll out with one, too, but the rest was just as summer should be; reveling in the simplicity of simply existing. Relaxing, melding, merging…. into the verve of Summer.
***Today’s post was a writing challenge. Participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now. You’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge below. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them. Wonder who got mine!?!
I’m using: rain, lake, beautiful, thoughts, share. They are bold AND underlined for you to find easily. They were submitted by: Juicebox Confessions
Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:
Baking In A Tornado
Spatulas on Parade
The Bergham’s Life Chronicles
Stacy Sews and Schools
Southern Belle Charm
Dinosaur Superhero Mommy
Sparkly Poetic Weirdo
Someone Else’s Genius
Never Ever Give Up Hope
Confessions of a part-time working mom
The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver
Searching for Sanity
By: Kristina Hammer, aka, The Angrivated Mom