I was raised by a Summer Mom.
Teachers make the best Summer Moms. That giddy, joy filled, fling open the doors and run into the sun feeling that follows the final school bell is not limited to the youth. Stick around long enough for posters to be pulled off the wall and grades to be handed in and guarantee you will see the same performance by your bone weary educators.
My mother was no exception. As a committed and talented English teacher by day (and nights, and weekends, and any other moment she could find throughout her week because let’s be honest, teaching is never a 9-5 job) and a dedicated mother of three (in the day, the nights, the weekends, and any other moment throughout the week because let’s be honest being a MOM is never a 9-5 either), my mother mastered the school year shuffle with grace and as much patience as God would grant her. But I always knew when my mom slipped into Summer Mom. It was not as much of a Jekyll and Hyde situation as it was Making it Happen Mom into Making What Happens Fun Mom.
I remember art projects and science experiments and neighborhood field trips.
I remember homemade popsicles and big fancy lunches and ice cream for dinner.
I remember family bike rides and evening concerts in the park under the blanket of stars and fireflies.
I remember reading books out loud as a family, the classic books that my English teacher mother just couldn’t let us go through life without opening up our ears and minds and hearts to.
I remember learning new skills like sewing and cooking and synchronize swimming.
I remember my mom being up early because she wanted to.
I remember more yeses and what if-s and how about-s and who wants to-s.
I remember more laughs and smiles. I remember more fun.
Do I owe all of these sunshiny memories to my mom? Maybe not. The ambience of a carefree fun seeking summer day is not unique.
But I do know that when I think of summer, I see my mom and she is smiling.
I want to be that mom.
I want to be that Summer Mom who sees the open schedules and the shifting routine as an opportunity to learn and laugh and live. I want to fling open the doors and run into the sun and not look back until the opening school bell rings again.
I say this not to diminish the School Year Mom. We need that mom too. She is the cruise director that gets us from point A to point B without sinking the ship.
But School Year Mom has her limits. She needs to smile. She needs to breathe. She needs to make room in her life for the joy that summer brings. Her soul as much as her children need her to be Summer Mom.
For some being a Summer Mom means bucket lists. We’ve got one of those. For others it means pursuing goals. We’ve got some of those too. But I think the biggest part of being a Summer Mom is not just what we are doing but how we are doing it. With wee ones in the house we have less freedom to loosen up on rules or fudge schedules (my heart is pounding at the thought of no nap time!) But there may be room for more yes. There may be ways to complain less and celebrate more, to try something new, chase adventure and patiently seek the small joys.
This summer I plan on seeking more of the spirit that my mother modeled for a Summer Mom.
I want my children to remember me as the Summer Mom.
I want to remember myself as the Summer Mom.