The summers seem to pass much quicker as our children grow older. Back to school means we’ll be back to our usual, hectic routines with jam-packed days and evenings and weekends of errands and hockey. And the older your kids get, the busier their days and weekends are with friends and activities.
In past years, I looked forward to the school year because I was exhausted having my boys home all summer. I selfishly wished the time would fast forward to the first day of school so I could have some alone time again. Though I loved having my boys home, keeping them entertained for a part of the day without playing referee constantly became overwhelming. I remember feeling drained by the middle of summer, counting down the days where our regular routine would be restored. I’d have quiet time to focus on work without being interrupted every five minutes, and some “me” time to decompress.
This might be the first summer in years that I wished summer break would last longer so I could spend more time with my boys. I wholeheartedly enjoyed hanging out with them this summer. The usual bickering was bearable, surprisingly. We spent time doing things outdoors. We got our fill of the hot summer sun. We explored parts of Ontario we hadn’t visited before, frolicked on the beach, and circled the grounds of Canada’s Wonderland countless times.
But the difference this summer is that my boys also spent time apart from one another and with their own friends. They’d be out for hours, separately, only calling me to check-in. Instead of the usual questions of summers’ past, “Where are you taking us today?”, they asked, “Mom, I’m going out with my friends now.”
This summer I felt a huge shift and it really hit me – my boys are becoming independent, self-sufficient young men. Gone are the days when I’d have to arrange playdates and meetups. Gone are the days I’d have to plan activities to keep them occupied, and camps to help them burn off their insurmountable energy. Now, they’re scheduling their own plans with friends and don’t need me to organize their social life anymore.
I was their taxi driver, chauffeuring them and their friends to various activities this summer. Some days, they hopped on their bikes and scooters and took off for hours. Other times, the gang would congregate in our garage. My basement turned into the local movie theatre for their friends.
There were days that went by where I hardly saw my boys and needed some extra cuddles by evening because I missed them so. “I haven’t seen you all day!”
That’s the strange dichotomy about parenting – we hang onto every moment we can share with our kids and yet we push them away when we’re overwhelmed.
Time. It’s the only constant in our lives. And the time we have with our children is fleeting.
Balancing that time carefully will allow us to appreciate and fully enjoy the precious time we have together.