Adjusting the straps of his backpack, he looked over his shoulder and said, “Mom, today will be hard.” Silently, I nodded. To cover up my quiet affirmation, I threw him a quick glance and said, “Oh, but remember, only 3 more Mondays!”
Mondays are always hard for him. Mondays after a long spring break are even harder. And Mondays after a long spring break when Paw-Paw has been here are nearly impossible to face for a young boy.
Over Spring Break I caught a glimpse of what awaits me in just 3 short weeks. Summer break starts early for us, and we have the gift of 12 full weeks with my boys here all day, every day. And I can’t wait.
Each summer I find myself with expectations of what our days will look like. When the boys were little, I would organize our day in such a way that time passed quickly while we created memories of what I thought summer was all about. As they are getting older, I am realizing they have their own ideas of the ideal summer. No longer are blowing bubbles and coloring sidewalks with chalk a highlight of the day. I’m learning to change with them. While I’m learning to change, I’m realizing that my expectations need to change with me.
The greatest gift I can give myself before summer kicks off is a healthy dose of realistic expectations. Too many times I find myself setting expectations that lead only to disappointment. And the bottom line is that I only have a total of 18 summers with my boys. I want to make them count. That alone puts pressure on me causing me to set standards and expectations that taunt me with the threat of passing time and failed days.
I want to wipe away the sneer of the clock and to hush the reminders of the times I’ve blown it.
Expectations set the stage for how we experience life. A view from the audience is drastically different than a view from backstage. My perspective during the heat of the summer will affect everything.
On the last night of summer, when I tuck them into bed, I want to be able to look them in the eyes and say, “I had the best summer of my life with you. I loved every second I had with you and am so grateful for the memories we created.” Sometimes for me to truly enjoy the moments I have to start at the end and work backwards. What do I want to feel when it’s all over? I want no regrets. I can’t control what circumstances I may face, but I can control my attitude and how I respond to the moments.
This summer I’m starting early. Instead of only focusing on intentionally creating a memorable summer for my kids, I am intentionally creating realistic expectations in my heart that will allow me to experience each moment (the good and the bad) with grace.
To hold me accountable, I’m writing a list and sharing it here with you. It is not a summer to-do list, it’s a summer to-expect list. I may not do all I want to do, it may not look the way I imagine, but if I set my perspective right, I can expect to reach the end of the summer and look back at the days with no regrets over time that moves too fast and moments that took new shapes.
Check back Wednesday when I will share my realistic summer expectations here. In the meantime, would you consider making a list too? A list of your hopes for the summer? A list of your expectations and desires? And maybe Wednesday, you could share your heart with me too?