I have told several people now that I may look back on this as one of the hardest summers of my life. Having a baby several weeks before school let out for the summer was difficult enough, but add to that record-breaking temperatures and the fact that I had to pull Cora out of Mother's Day Out because of some changes we didn't like, and we had a recipe for real cabin fever. On top of all of that, I had no computer. I was home all summer long with three little kids, we couldn't leave the house because it was SO HOT, I couldn't get any work done, and we were paying off more medical bills making date nights, shopping, and other luxuries impossible. It was super hard. No, that's a lie. It was enough to make me a crazy person at times.
There were days I dreaded waking up in the morning. I knew the kids would fight, the house would continue to be a mess, and I would feel painfully lonely. I wanted routine. I wanted my body back. I wanted to complete a grown-up conversation. I secretly resented people who could afford big vacations. I felt jealous of those who could spend the whole day with their children at the pool. I wanted my kids to be happy and didn't know how to make that happen. It was so tough.
Brennan started first grade yesterday. He was so delighted to be back in school, and I was so happy to have him there. The start of school represents all that's right in the world for Brennan. He loves to learn, he loves to create, he loves routine, and he loves to socialize with the other kids.
We have a fantastic elementary school, and although a lot of people take it for granted, I thank God for it often. So, on Thursday night, as I thought about Brennan heading off to first grade the next morning, I should only have been happy. But after the kids were all in bed and I collapsed onto my own, worn mattress, I started to cry. Why? Because I felt like I had failed my children. I have several friends who love summer and treasure the opportunities to make memories with their kids, but what did I do for my kids this summer? I survived.
Today, as I got Cora out of the bathtub and saw her brown little legs, I forgave myself a bit. I genuinely did the best I could for my family this summer, and although we didn't make as many trips to the pool as my kids or I would have liked, we hardly sat at home and watched paint dry. We went to dance classes, Brennan went to Encore summer camp for a week, we participated in Vacation Bible School, Brennan took swimming lessons for two weeks, we went to a puppet show at the library, we met a friend at the splash pad, we "ate more chikin" at Cow Appreciation Day at Chick Fil A, we watched family movies, and we built lots of forts out of blankets. My kids were not terribly deprived, and I'm guessing they will do more than survive to tell about their summer experiences.
I am really excited about fall - maybe more so than I have ever been, and I always look forward to my favorite season. I am ready for cooler weather and more opportunities to be outside. I am excited to have both kids back in school (Cora will be going to preschool two days a week), and I am looking forward to pumpkin spice lattes and our first family vacation this October. More than anything, I am looking forward to feeling like things in my life are somewhat under control and I can be the kind of mom I want to be. I am completely ready for a new season, both figuratively and literally.