Many families look forward to summer season’s slow roll into their hectic lives, as they endure the crazy last month of school and all it brings. My family’s summer begins Memorial Day weekend, but instead of feeling that long exhale as stressful schedules come to an end, winding down on a sandy beach with a good book, or sleeping in and lingering lazily at home with time on our hands to rest and recover, we dive straight into the busiest season of all.
Six days a week, I am up at 5 a.m. to get my girl off to her long course swim club practice that runs from 6 to 9 a.m. at a pool 30 minutes away. Her swim club has meets out of town on the weekends, as well as extra afternoon practices three times a week.
My son’s soccer season is at its peak with regular practices in the evenings and out of town tournaments on the weekends. Both my kids are in the summer league swim and dive team at our community pool, so there are practices every day and meets every week that run smoothly with the dedicated help of parent volunteers who run concessions, time the events, and manage the records and ribbons for every swimmer.
Then there’s baseball, a sport my son absolutely loves and my husband coaches. After a month of practices, we are at the ball field two to three times a week for games.
Throw in a few wrestling camps, baseball camps, summer youth group camps, my daughter’s lifeguarding schedule, teaching schedule, and ongoing ministry and social activities that never seem to end, there is rarely time for kicking back with a good book. The house is a constant mess of dirty uniforms and wet towels. The cooler is packed with drinks and snacks, over and over again, and thrown in the car for the next game, the next meet, the next tournament.
It’s a maddening, exhausting, and often frantic pace, but my kids wouldn’t have it any other way.
They absolutely love being this busy. They love their sports and their friends and their work. They love starting the day before dawn and ending it exhausted with sun-kissed faces drenched in sweat or chlorinated water.
My kids are happy and fulfilled. And, despite the calendar that is constantly packed, the house that is chaotic, and the long hours that exhaust me every single day, I am too. Summer is our busiest season and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
We will find our pockets of down time. I will demand it when we’re in the throes of all the chaos. There will be times when I make my kids linger and rest for a few hours before moving on to the next thing. But summer around here is a time for activity, competition, fun with friends, and working long hours at the pool to save for college.
Summer means spending most of our time out of the house at the soccer and baseball fields, and the many swim venues we visit all over the state. Summer is for late nights and early mornings, quick meals on the road and snacks in the car or on the sidelines. It’s a time for my kids to live in the moment and embrace their active lives with a zeal that never seems to fade no matter how exhausted they are.
It’s during these months where my kids learn how to manage their time, fit in their responsibilities around the house, and figure out how to do life well.
It can be hectic and frustrating, overwhelming and a bit crazy around here—but our lives are anything but boring, and I rarely have to worry about what my kids are doing on their phones or how they are spending their time, because they are just too busy to get into trouble.
I know we aren’t the only family who goes full-tilt during these summer months. I spend much of my summer alongside other parents at the fields and the pools. They have tired eyes and coffee in hand, carrying the weight of the same equipment bags and the nonstop schedules on their shoulders. We often commiserate over the pace of it all, and we celebrate the joy that summer brings along with it.
Our kids are in the prime of their youth, grabbing at every possible opportunity they can to have fun, train hard, and live out their summers with a relentless desire to experience it all. It takes a lot of hard work and color-coded calendars to pull it off, but it’s worth it.
We may not get a summer vacation at the beach or have time for home cooked meals or long hours of relaxing rest, but my kids are happy with how we race into summer and never stop.
And so am I.
Before long, they’ll be gone and summers around here will be quiet. So, I’ll take the crazy chaotic thrill of it all and know that the memories we are making will last a lifetime.