August, to me, signifies the end of summer and squeezing in last minute plans. The relaxed schedule of summertime is coming to a close, and what starts to sink in is the realization that hectic mornings of rushing out the door to get all four of my kids to school is in my near future. It’s a time for new school supplies, fresh new back to school haircuts and finishing up as many of our summer bucket list items as possible before the inevitable happens…the first day of school arrives.
I have such fond memories of spending my summers at our family lake house as a child without a care in the world. The cabin wasn’t much to speak of at all, and didn’t even have air-conditioning, but with the very large size of my immediate and extended family, most of us camped in tents outside anyways. We ran around barefoot all day, playing croquet and volleyball, swimming off the dock and trying to knock cousins off of a giant inner-tube the size of a tractor wheel in to the water, or taking the paddle boat out and almost always regretting how far we went, because we had to paddle back. We spent our evenings roasting marshmallows in the fire-pit while enjoying the night sky without the glow of city lights, telling funny or embarrassing stories and playing charades. As a child, I didn’t realize how special those memories would be for me for my lifetime, but what it has taught me is how things don’t have to be extravagant to be special. The moments and time spent enjoying each other is what truly has stuck with me, and some of the most simplistic moments are what I remember the most.
As a parent, sometimes it feels exhausting after vacations of cramming in fun activities for our kids and hoping that we have helped facilitate an unforgettable summer for our family. We have definitely had our mix of summers that are extraordinary and then others where I feel like we weren’t able to do as much, whether it be because of baseball, work schedules or an unexpected life event. What I need to remember is that although those extravagant trips are fun, sometimes the simple family traditions of a fire-pit or family game night can be just as memorable to a child, and the care-free feeling of a barefoot summer night of catching fireflies in the backyard can be a memory that lasts a lifetime.