Now with summer officially over, and three weeks of school under our belts, I realized I needed to free up some fridge space for school documents and art work, so the Summer 2017 Wish List had to come down. I wasn’t ready to say good-bye to summer just yet, and was holding out as long as possible. I might point out the above 90 degree weather isn’t helping discourage my attitude of wanting to hold onto this time a bit longer.
We had a great summer. I will admit, I was apprehensive. Our last two summers have been really challenging. Two summers ago, my father-in-law had open-heart surgery, and his recovery while successful, was very long. Do we need to discuss last summer? Probably not. (But in case you missed you it, you can catch up here and here.) So I was trying really hard to keep my expectations in check, and low to the ground. Very low. My mom says this is living in reality, but when you are parenting, reality seems like an alternate universe at times. Needless to say, Summer 2017 exceeded all my expectations, and looking back, it was awesome.
I will admit, I had my doubts at first, we started out with busted knees, which is not earth shattering, but a literal pain in the knee when trying to climb out of the pool at swim team practice, and on that topic, we had two cases of swimmer’s ear, and one ear infection at the two week of summer mark, followed by a first bee sting for L2. It was doozey beginning. To the point I just started #notonthelist.
Glancing over the list, and flipping thru all the pictures I took this summer, we had some memorable times. So many, that when I asked the boys what their favorite part was, neither could just pick one. It’s amazing how stress in our home the last two summers had such a significant impact on how L&L viewed those months versus these past few months. “I don’t know, Mom. It was just good.” Indeed it was. It’s my natural instinct to list out all we did, but we had a summer of change, a summer of growing up, not just a summer of activities, and honestly, my heart is telling me this is the message to share.
If you kindly follow my Instagram account, and I say kindly because you never know what silliness or foolishness may appear there, but if you do, you likely saw this photo of my sweet LT sleeping from earlier this August.
A little back story for you. We spent the day barbecuing at the pool with some of our school buddies we hadn’t caught up with most of the summer. There was swimming and hot dogs and an orange crush bar. After seven hours of grilling and swimming and crushing, we packed up and came home. It was what I would consider a great summer day, and at the end of it, when we were driving home, I thought, this is perfect because everyone will go straight to bed and get a good night sleep. Boy, did I hex myself.
I unpacked the car, and tucked L2 in, and I was feeling my crush buzz and the summer sun, and I was walking in to LT’s room to tuck him in, when he said, “Mom, I’ve been wanting to talk to you about Santa and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.”
I. WAS. DONE. FOR.
Let’s just pause for One. Hot. Minute. A few things every parent thinks about because we all know even after thinking about it, there is nothing we can do about it, but wait and live thru it. Things like your baby getting the stomach flu for the first time, and it’s long before they can talk, or understand that ideally puking in a bucket is better than the projectile vomit that is now spread all over your French vacation, or the first time they get a horrible blister from a burn and your kisses don’t heal sh*t, and they are still in pain, or when you take them to kindergarten day one, and you know your life and their life has been changed forever because you can’t go back to life before school, ever. OR the realization that one day, your eight year old child will choose the day you day drank with friends to bring up his ever curiosity of Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. It all happened exactly as I imagined it would, I was blind-sided, and even though I had thought, and thought, and thought, I had no solution, no game plan, no nothing. I had only my crush buzz and parental gut instinct. (Which for the record has not been honed to any skill level.)
Back in LT’s room.
I just stood. Almost paralyzed. I heard the words. I heard what he was asking, what he was implying. I just stood. I was ticking back in my mind where I might have stashed that parenting manual that they give out when you have kids. I kept ticking back, then suddenly I remembered, they don’t give that out. They just let you freely bring kids into the world, and throw you out into the pack of wolves that is parenting.
I really wanted to just burst into tears. I was not ready for this, on so many levels.
I sat on the bed. I was just trying to breath.
“Well, Bud, what do you want to know?”
“Well, I have been thinking.”
“Well, I have been thinking about it for a while, I want to know how does Santa work?”
Oh dear Lord, please have mercy on us both. Please.
“Well, Santa and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy are not real. And the way Santa works is the magic of parents.”
There are tears welling up in his eyes. Gosh, honesty really is the best policy, but it can be so hard in the midst of it.
“We create the magic which is what makes them special. You know when we get the Christmas tree out every year and decorate and how excited we are? That’s all part of the magic of Christmas. And you are now on this side of the magic, and it’s our job to believe in the magic for others. Like L2, and your friends that believe.”
And now I have tears welling up in my eyes.
“You know even at thirty-seven Mommy believes in the magic, and that’s what make this so special. And you are still going to get gold coins from the Tooth Fairy, and your Easter basket filled by the Easter Bunny, and your stocking filled by Santa.”
“So the Elves?”
“Also, not real.”
“So the North Pole is a real place– “
“Where no one lives.
“Have you been thinking about this for a long time? Did you maybe hear some kids at school talking about it?”
“Yea. I have been thinking about it for a while.”
“Now you know. And I know this part is going to be hard, but you are not allowed to tell Landon.”
He nodded his head yes, and dried his eyes. We hugged, and I held the tears in until I tucked him in, and kissed him good night.
I left the room, and the flood gates opened. Inside I had this overwhelming feeling sadness, of letting something go, of knowing LT had probably been mulling this over for months, and he felt comfortable enough in what was to come that he finally asked. So much of my parenting has gone this way. I may not be ready for the next, but my kids are ready for the next.
I told Chef, who really had no idea how sad I was until he came into the kitchen where I sat over an entire bowl of onion dip, beer in one hand, and phone in the other, texting my Mom support group about what just happened, and crying.
Summer 2017 surpassed expectations in fun, and excitement, and clearly, growing up.