I sometimes wonder: Am I the only one who feels the odd pull summer brings to a mother's heart?
I have the best intentions of enjoying summers with my children to the fullest -- with vacations planned, trips to the pool and the occasional ice cream or snow cone treat. And we have fun moments and make beautiful memories doing these things, but mixed in there are those frustrating ones -- too much bickering, too much tattling, too many little hands constantly tugging at me.
Until I feel so worn and stretched, my heart feels frayed. I often have to refocus myself, remembering my own words: to never wish time away because I know just how fast the years are flying by.
And before I know it, we are eating our last snow cone for the summer, taking our last trip to the pool, enjoying the last lazy morning of staying in our pajamas until noon -- all the lasts creep up on me so fast, I wonder: Where did our summer go? And I find myself wishing we had just a little more time -- time for me to make things right: to be more patient, to yell less, laugh more -- a chance to do better. The end of summer makes my heart ache with remorse.
The end of summer marks both an end and a beginning. It's the end of the: Mommy, she hit me-s, the messes on the floor after I just mopped, the refereeing, the end of the constant bickering over who's turn it is to choose the morning cartoon. And it's the end of the trips to the grocery store with four kids, as I remind them for the millionth time that I am not going to buy them a toy, and I wonder: Am I raising these little people to be good in their hearts, or am I failing at the most important job I'll ever have?
But it's also the end of all those sweet and precious moments that make my heart sing -- the sticky faces grinning ear to ear as they eat a giant snow cone, the look of concentration on their faces as they build a sand castle just so, the Mommy, look at me-s as they show me the latest trick in the swimming pool. It's the end of the unprompted chorus of: Thank you for such a special day!, inevitably started by my twin son and echoed by his two sisters --and in those moments I think to myself: My kids are good. I just might be doing an OK job.
The end of summer also brings new beginnings. New memories to be made -- reports of happy school days, fun field trips, the excitement of learning something new. Seeing my kids grow and mature is something I will always enjoy, because as they get older, a new layer is added to them -- a layer that brings them closer to the grown up they will be. I will never wish for them to stay little because I'm constantly in awe of who I see them becoming.
How is it possible to be ready for something to end, yet not really wanting it to? To feel like time goes by too fast and too slow all at once? Perhaps it's because a mother's summer heart is often filled with joy, bittersweet tears and yes, sometimes, regret. A mother's heart aches a bit when she sees her children getting older -- happy and sad all at once. A mother's heart whispers: I promise to do better, to be better.
I'll spend this next school year sewing the frayed pieces of my heart back together -- missing them while they are away, wondering how their day is going, if their hearts are happy and welcoming them home -- wanting to hear every small detail about their day. The new school year will help mend my summer's heart just in time for the pulls and tugs of the summer to come.