Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Song of Summer

The stretch of summer would loom before me, endless days and weeks with my three boys home every day. Every. Day. Home, with me, cooped up, antsy, or perhaps lazy, laying around watching way too much TV and aggravated by the idea of going outside on our hot, baking brick patio to play. My mind would go into panic mode. WHAT am I going to DO with them all summer? I knew I had the beach and lots of activities in So Cal, but with every day being ALL ON ME, with three active boys, I was stressed. I would scour the parenting magazines and city rec guides for camps. I would declare that my husband's bonus would be the source of paying for the multiple camps and when he balked I would not budge. I would get tight lipped and edgy because he didn't understand....HE wasn't the one home all summer with their whining and fighting and belligerent bad manners. They were mostly good boys, but they were boys all the same. We had our moments where I felt like I was going to crush them all like HULK woman and a whole summer of that would surely put me over the edge. So I booked them with activities. We might have a week in between camps, but when we did we simply stayed home and if I really tell the truth they probably watched 5 hours of TV most days. Embarrassing. Boring. Exhausting. And it definitely induced those cranky fights I dreaded. After the TV went off the screeching accusations, grabbing and aggressive behavior was enough to make me either scream so loud I avoided the neighbors for weeks, or I would resist, resent and retreat and shut the door for far too long to be considered being an actual parent.Then I would regret. Disgraceful. Dangerous even. I was a disapointment of a myself.
I was just surviving the summer. Fun was stifled.

This summer is completely transformed. It's like I have a new song. I created the possibility of Adventure, Love and Generosity and my world has entirely shifted. Through my seminar at Landmark and my weekly buddy calls, I have created being accountable for my life in a whole new way. Maybe other Moms got this when they first had kids, I am just grateful I got it now. I am the source of my happiness as a mother, not my kids. Not the circumstances like, whether it is summer or hot or not or they are sick or not or we have extra room in the budget or not. No. No matter what, I am the source of my happiness as a mother and I am the source of how our household goes. I set the tone.
So I set it. Adventure is our tone. Love and Generousity is who I am being.

This summer the boys went to one week long summer Cub Scout camp and I went with them and volunteered. I got to be in their world and it was dirty and busy and filled with raucous summer camp songs! A week an a half later the older boys went to a weekend camp with Daddy and I stayed home with Bronson. 100% Bronson and Mommy time. No "break from the kids." And I am not in the least bit tweaked out by that. We could afford camp, I just don't have the need to send them, the panic is gone. I am planning fun days, and we are thoroughly enjoying each other's company.

Today as we watched a YOUtube video and learned how to make origami swans and ninja stars I just relished learning something new with them. We created something together. I didn't just tell them to do it and walk away to do dishes. I sat, got curious, we struggled, we started again and we completed them. I learned something new and creative with my kids rather than paying someone else to do it. The swans are our trophies of a successful summer day.

I realize that my boys have been delightful and surprising the past couple weeks of being home. They have been asking to help around the house,they have been reading and doing math when I request it. They have been playing with each other as the bestest of friends in the world and hardly fighting. They care about what I ask them to do too. I got that the more time I spend with them, the closer and more bonded we are. The closer the bond, the more loving we are and the more agreeable they are to cooperate with me and the more FUN we have. The more time I spend with them, the more I want to spend time with them.

Later when I rested and watched a cooking show while they played legos, we got inspired by the cookies, so we made four different kinds because it's summer and we get to do WHATEVER WE WANT, whenever want. I felt so joyful, free, so grateful and so in love with my kids and my life.

When I sent my husband Todd a picture of us doing origami and baking cookies he emailed me back..."statistics are that So Cal parents are paying ten of thousands of dollars per year for enrichment for their kids. You are doing that with them. What you are doing is priceless."
My eyes welled up with tears. My husband, whom I once thought secretly wished I was making money to contribute to the family and doing something he could be proud of, was acknowledging that the choice we made for me to be a Stay at Home Mom, was priceless.
The greatest adventure is one of love and generosity... I wish you many such adventures, and may every day be summer and full of songs.

Zen Honeycutt

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