“Summer went way too fast,” my six-year-old sighed from the back seat, looking out the window as we embarked on our 1,000-mile drive back home.
And I agreed with him. Wholeheartedly. Too fast, I echoed.
It’s like he was sensing that we were heading back to routine, structure, and – in 10 short days! – the first grade. It’s like he knew I was savoring every snapshot from the last 90 days.
I smiled. He’s always been kind of an old soul.
I had all of these dreams and plans for the Summer of 2018. I even typed up an impressive – yet realistic – summer bucket list…that I never printed out.
That kids’ cooking class may have to wait. Those five new parks may need to be crammed into the next week. (Can I count the one we found on our mountain vacation? If so, only four more to go!)
I created a whole list of screen time rules…that I never shared with my son, much less enforced. Netflix was a welcome help when he woke up early after late-night swim meets or we were worn out after a hot day of fun.
Looking back, the summer of 2017 was honestly a bummer. It was bookended by two surgeries (for me), with all kinds of sickness and changed plans in between. I struggled to make it through last summer with a weak smile and a prayer.
So while I may not have made all of our 2018 summer dreams come true – those print photos didn’t get scanned nor the funky outdoor chairs repainted (update – finished a week before school began!) – this has been a summer to remember.
All the projects and creative mommying didn’t happen (Tent Tuesdays? Nah.), but a whole lotta memories did. And for that, I’m truly thankful.
You see, life with chronic illness is unpredictable. Great summer fun isn’t a guarantee. My body much prefers cool fall evenings to the stifling heat and dripping Carolina humidity. (Or as my six-year-old informed his uncles of himself, “I heat easily.” Oh, that kid!)
I’m not against bucket lists – in fact, I love dreaming dreams and making plans. But if I savor the simple – yet imperfect – days, I will be thankful. If I don’t live in fear of what might derail my plans or fret over a bucket list left undone, then I can cherish what’s right in front of me – while building in a little rest and respite from the heat in between.
Please indulge me as I reflect on many of the wistful, sigh-inducing moments we shared. And if you’re so inclined, check out a highlight reel of photos below.
- Mountain mornings, beach days, & a lake-view vacation – oh, what a generous Creator we serve! To think of what awaits us!
- Trampoline parks, a zoo visit, a boat ride, swimming, bowling, parks, sunflower fields, strawberry picking (Oh, check – that one was on the bucket list!)
- The ability to travel without pain & sickness to see our Midwest families – sharing old stories for the umpteenth time & laughing as if it’s the first retelling of said stories
- Mini adventures during spontaneous stops to stretch, smell the wildflowers, discover covered bridges, & take in sunsets over the river
- Hiking, swimming, an escape room, going to the theatre, mini golf, learning new video games (are they still called that?!?) and memory making with cousins who live far away
- Simple moments like family bike rides & exploring Raleigh as hometown tourists
- More ice cream, s’mores, & coffee consumption than I care to admit
- Cook outs, Goodwill finds, & lazy days in PJs until well after noon
- All three of us belting out The Greatest Showman soundtrack on the thousands of miles logged on the highways
- Board games, Bible study, conversations & lunch dates with some of my favorite people
- Every single pillow making its way to the living room for near-weekly forts (this is happening in my living room this very moment as I type) & hearing Reed’s imaginative chatter as he builds them
- Nerf bullets. All of the Nerf bullets.
Ahhhhhh. These are the days.
So, how about your summer? Do you make a summer bucket list and stick to it or do you play it by ear? What are some of your favorite moments from this summer – planned or spontaneous? I’d love to hear from you – comment below!
Summer 2018 in Pictures