Instead.

Let's be real here: this was NOT the summer I signed up for.

I know there are people who just looove summer--well, I don't.

Not with three kids under age 6.

Sure, I had all the idyllic plans of what we were going to do.

Plans of what I was going to do--which speaks more of how I was going to be: energetic, motivated, driven, etc. I was going to be in control this summer!

We were going to swim,  play with friends, have lemonade stands, read books and the Bible together, go to the library, play outside in the sprinklers and sand box, go to the park, work on writing skills and practice Wyoming's Spanish, draw and paint and learn macrame and save the whales and feed the homeless.

And while I had ALL this energy to facilitate this fantastic, dreamy, creative and imaginative summer for my children, I was going to get up early and have quiet time and read the Bible. I was going to get all healthy and walk and workout and portion out all my meals and get my whole family eating better--all while I lost 10 pounds.

Yeah, no. Not even close.

INSTEAD.

Instead, I've had little to no energy.

Instead, I've done little to foster my children's imagination or creativity.

Instead, my kids have been sick a lot.

Instead, my 6 year old started getting into trouble with the neighbor kid and had to be grounded, which kept him inside, sheltered, and overindulging in Minecraft to near obsessive levels.

Instead, there has been a lot of fighting and arguing and whining.

Instead, my children have wanted to eat every 25 minutes.

Instead, my 2 year old has been so clingy, needy, and demanding I can't even walk anywhere without him attached to my leg or underfoot.

Instead, there has been a lot of sleeping and a lot less going and doing.

Instead of reading and working on literacy skills, the TV has been on day in, day out and the iPad has been in use the entire summer.

Instead, my oldest has been broody, sullen, spoiled, and argumentative. He's 6 going on 14. Teen angst at any age isn't pretty.

Instead, I gained almost 10 pounds.

Instead, I have had children in my bed 90% of the time, leading to interrupted sleep and that has kept me from getting up early. Hence, very little working out and Bible reading has taken place.

Instead, I've done a lot of nothing. A lot of Facebooking and meandering around the house aimlessly.

Instead, pretty much NOTHING I envisioned for this summer came true.

 

Yet--for a flash--sometimes so small and quick--they happen: The good moments. Woven in between, under and on top. Silent and sudden. Fleeting.

 

Moments I will choose to savor INSTEAD:

Hours spent on the living room floor playing Legos together PEACEFULLY.

Moments when each child has been tender, sweet and compassionate toward another.

Daily quiet times where my oldest two don't sleep, but play cooperatively and creatively together--making up games like "Sleepwalking" and  "Hide the Underwear." Yes, its a thing.

Napping  or sleeping with my 2 year old in my bed and his tiny hand searching for mine to hold until he falls asleep. Or poke me in the eye, you know, whatever.

Having my oldest travel several blocks on his bike to play with school friends who speak a language different than my own. It's been good to allow him the freedom and for him to learn responsibility.

Reconnecting with a high school friend who is coaching me back on the right track to health, fitness and wellness.

Time spent watching my 2 year old. He is growing at lightening speed and talks up a storm. He is funny and witty and a mess. And--I know he is my last. He will be the last 2 year old in our house. Bittersweet.

So what if we've watched Phineas and Ferb Star Wars 5,382 times?

I am surviving summer. And my children will, too.

Instead of focusing on the torture I've been enduring these last 10 weeks, I'm going to focus and the good, INSTEAD.

 

Romans 12

1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (The Message)