Savoring August

As the end of August arrives, I want even more to savor the slower pace of summer life. During the first half of the year, I forced myself into a pretty unhealthy, overbooked schedule, and have just started my summer break at the beginning of August.

The list of things to do once I crossed that August 1st threshold grew long over the first seven months of the year. Some things that I was obligated to do, and many that I wanted to do.

I stepped in to August grateful for more time to spend with my kids. Mom being checked out every weekend and a couple of nights a week is not easy on any family, whatever the circumstances. My extra hours schedule really took a toll on my family, and I’m really savoring time with them now.

Being home with kids always spurs creativity. We plan for a day trip one day, a local adventure the next, and days with bikes and no cars. We make lists of fun things to do together and think about how many ways can we have fun? Where should we explore?

Inevitably, being at home with the kids for an extended time will also turn into recalculations. When am I supposed to get any work done? When do I get a minute for myself?

These moments of recalculation used to be stressful and filled with resentment. Not any more. Now, I love them. They give me the opportunity to let go of any number of things that don’t matter and focus on what I really want to do with my finite amount of time.

Being with the kids is still the top priority for these last, precious weeks of summer. We’ve been to the beach a number of times. We’ve taken naps sprawled out on the floors with fans blasting, or in the backyard hammock. We don’t rush through the shopping lists but take our time. That’s kind of a big one. Stop the rushing.

We’ve cooked together - meals, snacks, desserts. Cooking with kids always takes longer, and that’s OK when we’re not rushing. Eating outside is the best - at the beach, the park, or in the back yard.

We’ve hopped on the bikes on the spur of the moment to go for lunch, for some tennis time at the local parks, or to the pool. We’ve taken those evening strolls in the neighborhood just to stroll, we’ve restarted a nighttime routine of reading aloud together, and even made significant headway clearing out closets, desks, and even the garage. We may add in some painting to boost the feng shui energy here and there in our rearranged house. All things that we too easily cut out of the daily and weekly routine during the school year.

Whatever we come up with to do in the next couple of weeks, I’m officially canceling all “shoulds” from what remains of my August schedule. It’s time to enjoy the long, sunny days, and let each day be simple.

If it sounds inviting to you, know that you are the only one who will give you permission to do change your schedule. Make a commitment. Know that the world will keep spinning if you take a break. Look in the eyes of your family, friends, or even in the mirror, and give yourself permission to stop rushing for the next few weeks. Make a new plan to really savor the rest of August.