Rea Summer Days 2022

I don't know about you, but with five kiddos the last month of the school year is chaotic and stressful. I look forward to the summer days of sleeping in an hour or two later. This year was no different, but with that also came the realization that my oldest will be entering his senior year in school. Therefore, this summer is different than previous ones. We normally fill our summers with dance, swim team, church camps, tennis, family gatherings and extended stays with GG. We still had all that, but this summer also has college visits, senior pictures, senior parent meetings and the realization that we have one more school year at home with our oldest. 

Technically, I gained an extra year at home with him when he was born in late September. It pushed him starting school a year back and I could not be more grateful for God's planning. Don't get me wrong, I'm excited for this upcoming year and Cody going off into adulthood. He will do AMAZING things. He has a good head on his shoulders, he is the kind of young man most parents wish for. He is genuine and an absolute wonderful example for his younger siblings. His character speaks for itself. And although part of me is a little sad as we enter senior year, I really can't help but be even more excited to see what God has planned for this amazing young man.

However, not only are we preparing for senior year, we are also preparing for the start of middle school for Carson. Sixth grade is a big deal and we have to be careful not to let that special moment fall in the shadows of his big brother's senior year. Our IVF baby that we spent years praying for is approaching his teenage years quickly and by next summer will be an official teen. I always heard I would dread the teenage years because of stories from other parents. But I absolutely LOVE the teenage years! 

I love that these beautiful little humans are growing into their own and have thoughts and ideas outside of my influence. I love seeing their personalities develop and play into the foundation being laid for their adulthood. I love having real, honest open conversations with them about difficult topics. I love them learning that no matter what, they can always tell me anything and everything and know that I will always be there to guide them in the right direction. They also know that I support their decisions but help them see the different consequences of each choice. Many times I have disagreed with choices my kids have made, but I choose to push them to make the choice for themselves and learn while they still have me just a shout away. They figure out how to fix the "not so best choices" with me standing beside them offering suggestions on how to get back on the correct path.  I have them choose for themselves and I allow them fail more than just once but repeatedly. I watch them learn and see how to navigate themselves back to the best choice without judgement. We make sure we celebrate the wins when they do choose the right path. In addition, I choose to have them see ME fail and work hard to fix things that I could have done better from the start. I apologize when I'm wrong and let them see that adults do make mistakes too but overcoming them and learning from them is most important. We focus on making them lessons learned instead of mistakes. Parenting the teenage years are some of my favorite...I love the teenage years!

At the same time, let's not forget that we also have an upcoming fifth grader, fourth grade and K-4 preschooler. We are spread out over so many different years, all of them important individually. I'm just doing my best not to let one child's special moments overshadow another child. Collectively, it is a lot and some days I feel like I'm treading water constantly trying to keep my head above water. 

So you see these summer days are not just summer days, yet that is exactly what I am trying to make them...Simple summer days. I'm trying to keep them simple among the chaos. I'm trying to soak in the season and every special moment, because I know they are just that...moments. I'm trying to make sure we have lots of laughter among the sibling bickering. And although many don't see it, there is tons of sibling bickering.

I end up turning down most invitations to lunches, dinners, parties and gatherings because our schedules are so extremely full and maxed out. Downtime isn't just wanted, it is necessary. We are picky about every moment planned and scheduled that takes us away from each other. Spending time wisely with those we love. Time is a gift and one I am trying to make sure I'm fully present. Summer days are some of my favorite and we are here for them!