I love summer. I’m a big fan of having loosely-structured days and going to the pool and enjoying popsicles on the porch. Yes, there are chores that my children need to get done on a daily basis. And my kids are in a fair number of day camps and sports clinics. But summer gives us a chance to decompress before the next school year starts. Taking a break from a schedule is important to my crew whether that means sleeping in some mornings, having water fights in the yard, or going on big family adventures. This summer I made the announcement that I too wanted to take a break from a few tasks. I honest-to-goodness said “I’m resigning from some things around here.” My kids’ faces were priceless, but to their credit, they let me explain before protesting.
- I resigned from finding shoes. For over a decade, I have helped my family find their shoes. This is the summer I stopped the search and rescue efforts. For years I have provided baskets by the front and back doors for depositing shoes. Sometimes shoes land here. Sometimes not. For years I have combed the back of our SUV trying to find a single flip-flop because somehow my child walked out of the house with two shoes but walked into the grocery store with just one. For years I have guided my people in what shoes should be worn to which activity. Pool = Sandals. Biking = Sneakers. Camping = Boots. But this summer I resigned. Were we late to MANY things the first month of summer because we had to wait for my children to find their shoes? Yes. Were sneakers worn to weddings and hiking done in flip-flops? Yes. Was I alright with all of that? Absolutely, yes. Because by the middle of the summer, my kids were consistently putting their shoes in the baskets by the doors, and they packed appropriate footwear for a trip to the lake.
- I resigned from making lunches. We almost always have a hot breakfast – both during the school year and during the summer. I think my crew stays fuller longer and are more content when we have pancakes or French toast instead of cereal. And I’m happy to do it. But this year I said that I would be only making breakfast and suppers. Lunches would be on their own for the summer. My kids are going into seventh, fifth, and third grades. All four kids have a good understanding of basic cooking (and they often help with breakfast and supper). Pasta. Scrambled eggs. Sandwiches. Quesadillas. I was confident they would not go hungry. And if they didn’t want to make their own food, then they could go to the lunch-bunch on the hike-bike trail that was sponsored through the school system and a local organization. A sack lunch is served everyday along with tables set up for UNO games and a field for kickball. Two of my kids really enjoyed the lunch-bunch while the other two preferred to make their own sandwiches at home.
- I resigned from taking anything into church. If I was scheduled to lead worship songs, then I would take my music and water bottle, but if someone else was singing that day, then all I had were my car keys clipped to the belt loop of my pants so my youngest couldn’t steal them (that’s another story for another time). No snacks. No pens or markers for the kids’ bulletins. No fidget toys. Not even a Kleenex to wipe a nose. I resigned from bringing anything. This was the hardest for my eight-year-old who struggles with sitting still for any length of time. My other kids have not asked for snacks or toys in church for quite awhile so this change was really meant for the youngest child who isn’t so little any more. The first few Sundays were difficult. He stacked up all the hymnals and sent them crashing like a Jenga tower one morning. He made paper airplanes out of all the offering envelopes another morning. But he learned to plan ahead. By the 4th of July, he knew to put his Rubik’s cube in his pocket (after finding his shoes, of course) on the way out the door which was the perfect quiet, busy toy for church.
As we’re on the downhill slope of summer, I’m glad to see my kids are a bit more organized and bit more independent. Handing over responsibilities is an ongoing process that I hope to see carryover into the school year. May we all enjoy the rest of summer – one resignation (aka success) at a time!