Two weeks ago was the first day of summer vacation for my kids. While I know summer will fly by far too quickly, today it feels like the whole world is waiting for our adventures. And I look at my children, my oldest is 10 and my youngest is six. Where did those years go? It seems impossible to imagine that I have a nearly 11-year-old son. Nevertheless, I do, and when I think back on the years he has been on this earth, it occurs to me that my son has spent an inordinate amount of that time in therapist’s offices, doctor’s offices, doing in-home therapy, or being in the hospital. The same is true of my daughter who has been dragged along to many of those appointments.
It occurred to me recently, that one day they will be grown-up, and they will look back on their childhoods. What will they remember? What will be the salient moments they think of when they look back on these days. I can tell you what I want them to remember, I want them to remember that I would cook anything they wanted for their birthday dinners every year, having campfires in the woods, and sleeping out in the backyard in a tent.
I want them to remember dancing with me in the kitchen, and my son trying to dip me and both of us ending up on the floor, laughing hysterically, my daughter running to dance with me to “our song” whenever it played.
I want them to remember playing catch with me in the pool, wrestling with their dad, and fishing off a bridge. Playing board games together, reading every book in the Percy Jackson series, and snuggling. While these things have certainly been a part of their lives, they have often taken a backseat to medical appointments, illnesses, emergency room trips and therapy visits. While clearly medical interventions will always be a major part of our lives, I don’t want my kids to think back on their childhoods and remember that our lives revolved around them.
So, as I breathe in the fresh summer air, and feel the possibilities that lay before us, I am feeling determined to make memories with my kids this summer. Yes, we have a lot on our plate, and many responsibilities that cannot be ignored, but we also have time and we will be together. Making a memory doesn’t have to be an elaborate and expensive day at a theme park, or a costly vacation. A water fight in the back yard, a trip to a local splash pad or pool, letting your kids teach you how to play their favorite video game, or reading together can all create memories. I see a summer of picnics in the grass, tea parties hosted by my favorite girl, bike rides, day trips, smiles and laughter. I hope that these are the things that my kids remember!
With the promise of summer upon us, let me ask you, what memories do you plan to make with your family this summer?