August 12, 2013

The Summer Series - Sherri Kuhn

I explained earlier in this series how much I appreciate the perspective of moms who are farther along in the motherhood journey than I am. My guest today is one of the ones I enjoy reading most. Sherri Kuhn not only writes beautifully about her experiences as a mother, she shares them with incredible honesty, grace and beauty.

Sherri is a freelance writer, editor, blogger and social media lurker. With a son in college and a daughter in high school, she always has something to write about. Sherri blogs from the heart  — with an occasional side of sarcasm and humor. Her writing has been featured on SheKnows, AllParenting, Moonfrye, Mamalode, Nickelodeon Parents Connect, Mamapedia and BlogHer — and on her personal blog Old Tweener. She was a cast member for the 2012 Listen to Your Mother show in San Francisco. 

Summertime regrets

When you become a mother, time seems measured by not just minutes and hours, but by events, milestones or memories.

Oh, yes… that was the summer he learned to ride his bike…

And for me, the 20 summers I have spent as a mother have held bittersweet positions on my shelf of memories.

It begins in April, possibly May. The anticipation and excitement of the impending summer that lies ahead. Weeks and weeks of empty calendar pages, waiting to be filled with fun, with moments when the world might just stop spinning, ever so briefly.

I have been home with my kids every one of those 20 summers. Each fresh new season looming ahead come Memorial Day, waiting for us to plan adventures, climb a mountain or simply make homemade popsicles.

She’s moved up a level in swimming lessons! She swims like a fish…

And then — practically without warning — August rears its hot, tired head. I am not ready for it, not ready to face the end of our days spent at the creek, the library, the public pool or the beach. Not ready for the return of routines, alarms sounding bright and early, homework packets and permission slips to sign.

And the regret begins.

My mind ventures back to May, back to when the summer seemed to loom large and free. I cannot even imagine where the time has gone, and I am already regretful for the things we didn’t do over each summer. We didn’t camp, didn’t have a BBQ for friends, didn’t sit in the backyard on a warm summer evening and enjoy the quiet and the stars. There were no s ’mores, no pitchers of sangria with friends, no outdoor movies at the winery and no bike rides at dusk.

Each summer, pails spilling over and full of regret for what I didn’t do with my kids.

But in truth, summer isn’t meant for major developments… isn’t intended as a time to cross off bucket list items or follow an itinerary.

Maybe I’ve been thinking about it all wrong. Maybe it’s really about the small things.

Waking up early on Saturdays to share coffee with my son, as he heads off to his first full-time job. Singing crappy old songs at the top of my lungs with a life-long friend on a road trip — just to annoy the teenagers in the backseat. My daughter’s smile when she got her braces off. A family day-trip that reminded me who these three people are that I share breathing space with on a daily basis. A going-away party with heartfelt good wishes and cheers from my lovely co-workers. A breezy lunch on the outdoor patio at a favorite winery. Maybe there were two of those. Working at home at my desk, dog at my feet, and my daughter is close by, engrossed in a novel. My husband’s favorite new song, which we all hate, but love seeing him smile. Two teenagers with summertime birthdays… each one year older now. Time at the beach house with a friend from far away… and a chat into the wee hours of the night that meant so much.

So this summer, this 20th summer of being a mom? Maybe we forgot to make popsicles or look for shooting stars.

But I am choosing to see between the lines, to those small moments I will hold in my heart.
And there’s always next summer, right?

I am definitely planning to enjoy the small moments in the last few weeks of summer we have left. Thank you for reminding me how important that is, Sherri. But to be honest, I look forward to the return of our routine. Our life just flows better.

Check out these other great Summer Series posts:

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