Reflections on Summer with the Girls

I've been thinking all week long about how to summarize my summer home with the girls. For me, one who is never short on words, I just can't quite figure out how to explain the last eight weeks.A poem, or two, perhaps?

How quickly work fades/When two little faces smile./Can I stop time, please?

A real summer here,/Made for easy days at lake./Everyone is tan.

Three mile point love./Makes winters here easier./Beautiful upstate.

Caro is a fish./Handstands, front crawl, doggy paddle./So proud of my girl.

Char pees on the pot/sometimes but not every time./She gets candy, yay!

Oh Canada trip./Thank you to Grams and Opa./Memories for life.

Visits with Nana./Got in the lake, yes she did!/So proud of her, too!

Days spent with good friends./Playing is so tiring./Let it never end.

Me: stay at home mom./Borderline insanity./Hardest job ever.

In trying to draft something for this post, I looked back at my posts from last year at this time and I felt relief. Well, first, I felt really bad for myself. I returned to the office last year with something like TMJ and a strong need for some kind of medication. People would tell me they envied the fact that my job is only part-time and therefore I can spend eight weeks straight at home with my kids. I'd cringe because I wasn't really feeling that fortunate. I was feeling tired and resentful and out of control. I regretted not enjoying the time as much as I should have. A year later and my jaw is relaxed, I am slightly medicated- with caffeine-and my only regret is that we don't have more time to spend together. I still feel that spending the summer with the kids is tiring, and most of the time I'm managing the girls' tantrums, poop incidents, starvation claims, and fights over that toy that they forgot about for 6 months but saw me try to throw away so they both have to have it at this very moment.

Yet, I think I need to give a little bit of credit to the sun. The weather this summer has been glorious and it's amazing what a little sunshine can do for one's perspective on life. On several occasions, when the girls would be screaming at the lake, I'd just slide my sunglasses over my eyes, tilt my head skyward, take a deep breath, and say, "Ok,I can do this."

I also give credit to my friends and family. We spent every single day this summer surrounded by people we love and love to be with. Think about how seldom that happens. How often are we able to share our time with those who love us for just who we are and not who we are supposed to be? To share our days with friends who have no expectations for us beyond making them laugh, keeping an eye out for their one kid while they take the other to the potty, and on occasion sharing an appetizer over a glass of wine?

And I owe it to the girls. I always tell the students I advise that, at work, you are always on stage. I advise them to work their hardest even when they think nobody is watching, and to be aware that someone is always watching. Over the years I have developed a professional persona. I'm still me, and always will be, but I'm aware that everything I do is a reflection on my performance, my colleagues, and my employer. I've developed a hard professional shell. This summer, the girls have slowly peeled off that shell. They have exposed me. If you want to know who I really am, spend time with me when I'm with my kids. You'll then learn my greatest fears, accomplishments, hopes, and dreams. You'll see me at my best and worst all in one day, sometimes all in a matter of 10 minutes.

Tomorrow I'm back on stage, gently putting all the layers back on. But underneath, I'll still be me. I'll still be at the lake, watching Caroline practice her handstands and Charlotte mix her PB&J sandwich into the sand. In my heart, it will always be summer with the girls and the sun will always be shining.


Emily said…
Truly a summer to cherish! I'm thankful for the time we got to spend together with and without the kiddos. I'm blessed that I was able to (forced to) be vulnerable as well. We're all doing a great job and our gangs are so lucky we get this time with them. Good luck tomorrow!

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