**Please enjoy the following post from local writer, Kristi Hellenbrand. Her website can be accessed here.**
It is finally summertime in Georgia. The school year has come to a close, and even the teachers are now sitting on long expanses of beach, kicking their feet up. The kids’ lunch bags have been retired to the back recesses of my pantry and our mini-van is no longer on stand-by mode. My kids are finally back under my roof.
I know, I know. I am one of the “Happy Campers” who cheers because my kids are home with me for the summer. But we all know that there was a 50-50 shot that I was about to curse the entire season out. In my rough estimations I have found that fifty percent of mothers dread the last day of school, being afraid of having to entertain their children for the next ninety days. Frantically looking for summer camps, sports camps, and playdates, they forget to schedule time to simply sit back and watch their kids play. Other parents work away from home and have to arrange for babysitting. If I had to hire a teenager to watch my kids all day, I would fear summer too.
Summertime in our home brings lazy mornings spent eating pancakes and homemade smoothies. The kiddies might choose to sleep in a little in the morning, giving me much appreciated quiet time, or they might wake with the sun and ask for an early bike ride. If it’s raining we may plant ourselves on the couch and catch up on all of the Disney/PBS/Animal Planet TV shows that we have not had time to watch until this beautifully, wonderful season fell into our laps. At the end of the day, a request for bass fishing at dusk or a plea at bedtime, “Can we read a little longer?” is finally met with a parental “Sure, why not?” Cue the big ridiculous grins on our faces.
With all of this additional “together time” I do have to carve time out for myself. In the same way that I did the entire school calendar year, I crawl out of bed before the sun each morning. Why, you ask? Why would I set an alarm clock for the wee hour of 5am on a glorious summer day? Because let’s not kid ourselves. Today might be the day when my two boys drive my little girl into an all-out meltdown. Or the day when the Legos grow legs and inhabit every square inch of my hardwood floor. To prepare myself for whatever may come to pass, I take full advantage of this early hour of the day because it is mine. To do whatever I want with it. I may sit with a calendar and plan out our week, or dive headfirst into the pile of bills on the counter. Or I may simply fall into a good book. The point is that there are no longer backpacks to pack or homework sheets to sign so I sit on my porch with my coffee and literally wake with the birds calling their first songs and my horses greeting each other with their whinnies.
The days are so long this time of year that it seems my to-do list actually gets some attention. Schedule dermatology appointment? Check. Give the dogs a bath? Check. Pick berries with the kids at Adams Farm? Check. http://www.adamsfarmfayettevillega.com/ Can and jam the forty pounds of berries we picked? That’s a bit more complicated and requires an entire day of uninterrupted “mommy time” which my lovely husband arranged for me this past weekend. Some things are best done without the help of three extra sets of hands.
Reconnecting with each other is the point of this delicious season. Chasing our children’s dreams, be it in the form of soccer camp or an art easel in the backyard is a sure fire way to enjoy these months. We do it together. I am cheering them on while they run the fields and I am painting masterpieces too. Hosting playdates with their school friends helps bring needed social skills to the forefront while being just plain fun for everyone. Golf cart rides with no destination in mind, ice-cream sundaes at TCBY, baking cookies for no reason other than because Mom said, “Sure, why not?”
Kristi Hellenbrand is the newly published author of –Today is a Good Day for Marshmallows– A mother’s memoir, which received an honorable mention at the New York Book Festival. She is also the mother of three nutty children (whom she loves and adores anyway), is a chiropractor, a backyard gardener, and an animal lover. She is on a personal quest to be the best mother and wife that she can be, but confesses that she is “no Yoda.” She is simply a woman that is willing to share her many successes and failures in the name of her goal. Please join her and her followers on her blog page. She welcomes your comments and emails. She lives in Georgia with her husband, three children, and two dozen pets.by