pexels-photo-61136Each season brings its own unique challenges and pleasures, demands and desires. Summer is no different. We are now two weeks in our summer break, and I am still struggling a bit to make sure that I am creating the kind of summer that I want for myself and my family.

Most of the year, my to-do list is a very detailed, long, running list of all of the things I need to get done in a week. Some are fairly mundane (Buy the groceries! Vacuum out the Jeep! Give the dog his medicine!). Other items make the list because I know I need to schedule time for them or they won’t get done (Write a blog post! Plan for Kidz Choir!).

But I feel like summer should be different. We will go on vacation, we have Vacation Bible School at our church, we have birthdays and special occasions to plan. These are things with specific time constraints, and things need to get done to make sure that they happen. And as the designated planner in my little family, that’s often up to me.

So, I’m struggling with the tension between doing what is necessary, but allowing plenty of margin for play and rest. I don’t want to look back at my son’s childhood and see that while I ticked off all of the boxes on my list, keeping a very neat and orderly home and life, I missed a lot of fun opportunities.

As an adult, I can’t recreate for myself the summers of my childhood. Adults have adult responsibilities, and we need to embrace that. But I really feel the need this year to stretch out in the sunshine, find time for play and dirt, and plan times of movement and rest. I already see a very busy fall on our horizon, and I believe that God is planting this desire in me for a summer that will prepare us and make us ready for what lies ahead.

Any artist knows that a great work doesn’t happen by chance, and I believe the same goes for a great summer. My planning skills may come in handy after all. I propose long days filled with walks, play, ice cream, afternoon coffee, time at the park, grilled hamburgers, and fireworks. I propose time to watch the butterflies, drink a second cup of coffee, and play with the dog. I long for days of swimming, afternoon naps, and an ice cream cone at our local drive-up restaurant.

Creating a lifestyle that embraces each season is important. We can’t spend too much time looking back, or we miss the joys of the present. We can’t worry too much about the future, because we don’t really know what it holds. We can work today to make our lives count, and that’s what I am really looking for this summer, squeezing just as much out of each day that I can.

What about you? What kind of summer do you long for, and how can you make that happen?