Unexpected Momma Adjustments

This summer didn’t go how I wanted it to go.

I hate speaking of summer in past tense, especially since I’ve committed to keeping summer in my spirit until September.This is still my plan.

My plan, however, is adjusted to reality.

The reality is this: The first four weeks of summer were crammed-jammed with have-tos. The second four weeks of summer were supposed to be lazy summer days when I write in the morning and we go for bike rides and we eat lunch next to the water fall at the park and we pop over to our neighbor’s for late afternoon swims and we roast marshmallows and catch fireflies and dirt swirls in the tub and one more book is read together. It turns out the last four weeks of summer were crammed-jammed too.

This isn’t a summer issue.

My kids are growing up.

I know this isn’t shocking and for those of you on the other side of the screen who have been there before me, I’m sure you are nodding, maybe even smirking a bit.

But for this momma, you might as well hit me with a stampede of elephants.

Hannah is a 7th grader. Her legs are almost as long as I am tall.
Stephanie organized her dresser drawers according to sports season.
Jay is planning for his first sleep over.
And Sam always has a baseball cap on his head and quarters in his pocket, just in case he wants to buy popcorn at the concession stand or a pack of Juicy Fruit at the store.

What happened to 7:30 bedtime? What happened to park visits? What happened to left overs for the next day?

There’s this too. They can devour a 4 pound meatloaf in a single meal. I can pile their plates with a main dish, a starch, a vegetable, a fruit — they can have seconds and still are hungry.


They make plans and add them to the calendar. Softball practice. Run with a friend. Football try-outs. Boyscout camp out.

Their plans have suddenly usurped mine.

And summer didn’t go as I expected.

How could I have expected this? I’m not needed to orchestrate the day. They are building their own lives. I’m sidelined to administrative assistant and taxi driver.

But there is still this: Wherever I am, they find me. They still join me on the front porch with books and chocolate milks. They still pile in the family room, snuggled under quilts. They congregate in the kitchen when I’m making cookies or dinner. They let me rub their backs before bedtime and they still whisper important thoughts to me.

We are on the move, but I don’t get to set the pace.

Instead, I get to be along for the ride as their biggest fan. (Well, second biggest, because Andy will make no bones about being bigger in mass and therefore a bigger fan. I still contest this logic.)

We are their biggest fans. And I am stunned by how remarkable I find them.

That little girl who shelled up and ignored the world is joining the cross country team so she can make new friends. The other little girl who threw a fit every. single. night. when asked to put her dishes in the dishwasher clears the table without being asked. The little boy who used to be afraid to play outside shoots hundreds of baskets each afternoon. The one we brought home from the hospital and stopped every three miles just to check to make sure the car seat was still secure, sits in the front seat on the way to run this errand and pick up that sibling.

This summer has been one of adjustment for me. I’m learning to let go. I’m learning to give up my freedom for scheduling in the most convenient manner for me. I’m learning a conversation is more useful than a timeout and that sometimes you have to lose the battle in order to win the war (as my dad would say, even though I promised I would never utter those words.)

I guess what I’m realizing is I’m okay with all of this. I’m okay with being sidelined. I’m okay with losing some battles to snotty retorts and huffy feet. I’m okay with giving up some of my freedom. (Although I am grieving the loss of 7:30 pm bedtime.)

Because in the end, there are going to be four rather remarkable people who will make the world a better place. Meanwhile this momma will adjust her pace and cling to the truth that her stories still matter and her writing is still a calling and she will keep making her corner of the world better too. It just may take a little longer as I run a young soul to one more commitment and listen to another heartache and console anxious nerves and stand next to the train table, building a skyscraper out of a cereal box because I realize more than ever how short-lived childhood really is.

I hope you keep reading as I find my footing as my children outgrow me.

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  1. Love hearing about your summer, Ruth, & how it's evolving. It's a joyous post, despite the lament for the 7:30 bedtime! Love hearing that meatloaf disappears, and about the kids still showing up on the porch. And so it goes. My summer has whizzed by too, some plans made and as you said, some plans altered. Best to you all for a few last weeks of what we keep calling 'lazy' summer… although it isn't that at all!

  2. Ruth,
    Such beautiful writing and such big, big truths here.
    Enjoy every minute, every chauffeur trip (one of the best times to talk to my boys), and every meatloaf (keep a big box of cereal in the cupboard for those extra hungry nights!). They grow up way, way, way too fast, and then they are gone.
    And the house is waaaay too quiet.

  3. Ruth, you speak the words that every mom understands. Each season I'm surprised by how things have changed than the one that came before. Looking at Luke, headed to middle school, or Liam, headed to my building for 4th, I'm left wondering where my little guys went. It's hard, but it's amazing. I've loved each stage more than the last. Just hope that continues.

  4. Your words speak truth, the truth of parents suppporting their children. Children have growth spurts and we do too right along with them. Time together is the most important. Stories matter. I appreciate you sharing, giving you a hug, as we grow along life being their cheerleader.

  5. I smirked, I laughed, I cried. This is a beautiful post, Ruth. It took me back to summer days with our boys and summers now with the grandkids. These are good times. You may lament no more 7:30 bedtimes, but there will be quiet moments with them that will make you happy they aren't in bed.

    I laughed at the “lose the battle to win the war” It's part of my high school teaching philosophy. I have to always remember to fight for what's important and let the little things go. I have to remember that these are adults in training and they have things going on in their lives that I may not know about. They might now be handling things right, and they may seem unimportant to me, but it's important to them right now (or they may just need a nap!). Eventually, because they know what's right, they'll apologize for rolling eyes, snapping back and stomping feet…..it may take til they're 30, but they will 🙂

    Enjoy the rest of your summer!

  6. Ruth,
    I'm on the other side of summers. The original plans ones that you mentioned. My girls being only four have allowed for the freedom to be lazy, hang out, watch a show (that's how I'm able to read your blog now!) … I'm savoring every moment, but know what is to come.

    Even through the readjustment, you will still write. You will always have a story. You will do what you still need to do for you. I love that you will adjust your pace.

    Summer until September sounds delightful. I'm counting on that one too.

  7. I will always read whatever you write. I. love. every. word.
    I did have to laugh at the loss of 7:30 bedtime. I knew that was not going to last much longer. 🙂 Your world is rich with life, savor every moment. It does fly by too fast.

  8. Ruth, I loved reading this post about summer and growing up beside your kids. I'm just finishing a delightful week visiting my almost 28 year old daughter. I've loved every minute we've had together. Treasure all the times your kids come to the porch and snuggle on the couch with you because they do grow up . . . but they will always remember the time you spent with them. We're willing to wait a bit while you tend to more important things because your stories still matter and your writing is still a calling. We've joined you for this journey and a few delays and side journeys will only add to the beauty along the way.

  9. It's wonderful to see a grown up grow. What was the first year I met you? You have laid out the basics, and now they're all working. Go with the flow but be consistent and fair as allows. Always continue to share your thoughts. You are a gifted writer and presenter. You have made a difference in my life with your lesson of choosing joy and making it through with grit during the Hard. Grow on.

  10. Just beautiful and I have had the same kind of summer. My kids have been there for a while but I threw in two classes to finish my Masters plus 45 and sending one to college has had a whole new layer to summer and celebrations. All good but I would like to go hibernate like a bear for a bit before school starts. But, instead will role with it and think about how graceful you find the beauty in different routines. Hugs.

  11. Ruth, this is a wonderful post that ties in nicely with your poem. Summers are meant to enjoy without worries but sometimes days get the best of us. I want to thank you for your Celebrations sight that I just became acquainted with. I hope your don't mind that I just posted my week in review celebrations because I read through your blog site late last night and thought I would like to celebrate life this week. Positivity is infectious.

  12. I just had this conversation with my close friend in MN. She was lamenting the fact that her 8 year old now has a life of his own. She is no longer needed as “cruise ship director,” and mini-vacations have become an inconvenience to his social schedule.

    The best part about this shift in your role as parent is that you are aware enough to look for and find the celebrations. These details about your children, like what Sam carries in his pockets at this stage, are precious snapshots of their histories. I am so happy you took the time to slow down and put these breathings of your heart into words.

  13. Because in the end, there are going to be four rather remarkable people who will make the world a better place….they will!!! I've been there and on the other side …I never thought one would be in Ecuador, one would be in Africa and one in Chi town…all making just enough $ and changing our world…You go Ruth! You go Ayres tribe! xo