The Ideal Summer (I’m Not Always In Control)

Camp IodisECa mother'sday2005waterThe changes of the seasons invigorate me. Spring into summer perhaps more than any of the others.

As the days get warmer, I gear up for many activities I love: gardening, hiking, exploring, kayaking/canoeing.

More than anything, though, late spring ushers in family time! School is out. The days are waiting to be filled with memories of togetherness.



Honestly, I’d be a homeschooling mom in a perfect world. Since this world is not perfect, and I do not home school, I try to pack summer break with all things family.

However, I might become a tad obsessed to that end—striving to make each day reflect a picture-perfect “Leave it to Beaver” idealism. What I fail to take into account are real-life imperfection and individual differences. I tend to clutter the days with activities instead of relationship.Creek play

My mind is filled with images of those ideal lazy summer days of my youth. Reality is, that isn’t reality now and wasn’t reality then.

I whitewashed my childhood and projected that as truth. Then I spend my days planning how to make that imaginative perception come to life.

In the process of scheduling in perfect days, I can easily miss (and have) the real joys sprinkled throughout each day. Over-scheduling and over-planning chase away the fun.

In the process of trying to schedule perfect days, we can easily miss the real joys sprinkled throughout each day. Click To Tweet 
crayfish closeup

Summer break flies by quickly, and I still believe it is wise to do some planning. But I’ve discovered flexibility and lowering my expectations are the keys to ensuring a memorable summer filled with fabulous family-building moments (this goes for any vacations as well).

Flexibility and lowered expectations are the keys to ensuring memorable days filled with family-building moments. Click To Tweet

Some of my favorite photos and memories came from “spur-of-the-moment” outings: playing in the creek, overnight caving trips, an afternoon of canoeing, impromptu bike rides.Rachel

Nonetheless—although the 18 years of parenting have mellowed and educated me in many ways—I still struggle with this aspect of living in the moment. It is not easy for me to just let life happen, especially when it comes to my children.

I want to ensure they are all present for each summer experience—to “force” togetherness—to project my definition of ideal summers on them.kayak

I want to be in control. Summer, more than any other season, spotlights that character flaw in me.

Yet, when we focus on the blessings and opportunities God has placed in each day, instead of trying to force the particular ones we want, we’ll discover the love and joy we are looking for!

When we focus on the blessings God has placed in each day, we'll discover the love/joy we are looking for! Click To Tweet

Reflections: Do you lean toward planning the fun out of summer or do relationships trump activity? What ways have you filled your days with family, love, and joy? Do you have pointers for making a smooth transition from school days to home? I’d really like to know.

“This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24).

By His grace ≈


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Find hope in your real-life struggles. We'll chase it together! I am a wife; mom of 4 (including a young adult daughter with special needs); miscarriage mom of 5; author & follower of Jesus Christ. I write, edit, speak and enjoy everything outdoors.

2 comments on “The Ideal Summer (I’m Not Always In Control)
  1. Colline says:

    There are days that I plan for activities but most of the time I allow my children to relax and enjoy their free time. The few rules I have: they need to read for 1/2hr; and we need to be outside physically active in the late afternoon.

    • juliesunne says:

      Thanks for sharing, Colline! I always have to rein myself in. So many things I want them to see or do. But it isn’t always about me now is it?

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