By Ashley Schafluetzel @ashleydawn519
It’s another summer day, and my kids want to go to the pool. I have to tell them “No,” as the rain clouds loom. Summer feels like it is quickly ending, and I want to cram in as many happy memories with my kids as possible.
I think about a saying I’ve heard: We only have 18 summers with our kids. 18. That’s it, and here another one is almost over. I feel like I’ve had to say “no” too many times (thanks, rain). I want to do all the things, make all the memories, be the happy and fun mom they deserve. Yet I am caught by another rainy day. A sick day. A day when my kids want to be lazy. Or a day when I just have to catch up on housework or attend training as I get ready to start my school year as a kindergarten teacher.
Where do all of my days go? Did we sign up for too many camps? Soon I will be back in my classroom prepping for my new class of kindergarten babies, and my own kids will be back with their teachers. It’s bittersweet. I’m excited for the start of a fresh year but worried I failed my own babies. Has this been a memorable summer? Do they have all the happy memories? I hope so. I start to wonder what else can we squish in this summer…
On one of those rainy summer days we head to the craft store to find something to do, and my son gets excited when he sees the Halloween items on display. Another day I have to attend teacher training, my daughter finds a video about an elf and gets excited for her Elf on the Shelf to return. I start to feel excited for fall, Halloween, Christmas and winter.
And I realize that while we have only 18 summers with our kids, we also have 18 falls, 18 Halloweens, 18 winters and 18 Christmases. Maybe more than 18! I hope my kids will want to come home and celebrate with us even after they’ve started their adult lives.
My end-of-summer guilt starts to fade as I wonder why there is so much a focus on creating only 18 summers of memories with our kids. As we wrap up this summer and our fun summer memories, I’m already looking forward to our next season of memories. We will move onto fall and pumpkins, then winter and snow, followed by spring and flowers, and back to summer again. As my babies continue to grow, we’ll continue to make more memories.
I realize that even as the rain clouds loom on this late summer day, we can play in the rain and splash in the puddles. It may not be what we originally wanted, but seeing the joy on my kids’ faces makes me certain that they are happy…and will store these memories away.
Life isn’t always going to give us the memory-making opportunities we would have hand-picked, but that’s okay. We can learn to embrace the days we are given and the time we do have…one rainy day a time.
Ashley Schafluetzel | @ashleydawn519
Ashley and her husband live with their two kids, Ella and Jake, in Wentzville, Missouri. Both Ella and Jake were preemies (Jake was born three weeks early, and Ella was born three months early). Ella has Cerebral Palsy, along with some other conditions, and being her mom has taught Ashley so much. Ashley has been a kindergarten teacher for 11 years and it is her absolute favorite thing to do, even on the tough days. She loves the color pink, sparkles, her weekly sand volleyball games with friends, the St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Blues and Mizzou!