The Summer Stretch

Over here, in the States, summer starts early and goes big and long. The boys finished school three weeks ago, and we have acres of time ahead of us. The new school year begins halfway through August.

When it dawned on me, a mere few weeks ago, that a long summer of unstructured time was imminent, I had a flat panic. The sort of panic that lead me to grab a pen and paper, and seek out my husband with a slightly desperate plea for ideas for the months ahead. We broke it down, mapped out the diary and realised that my angst was a little unfounded as our summer is punctuated by book adventures, an England trip and a pool of people within reach to have frequent play dates in parks, paddling pools and play rooms.

As we’ve been finding our summer groove (slightly hindered by the lack of steady sunshine in Illinois), my perspective is beginning to shift. I still spend my Sunday evenings mapping out the week ahead, panic texting in order to make sure we see people during our days, but I’m learning to relax into the opportunity presented by bonus weeks in the company of these two little men.

It’s meant that I can be deliberate about sitting down with Rufus to help him learn to read. I’m enjoying the giggles that escape as he reads a sentence, thinks about it and realises that Gerald the Elephant is saying something funny to his friend Piggie. And as Billy watches Rufus, he’s beginning to see the point in learning those pesky letters for this reading and writing lark.

As life slows down, the nuances of mood and emotion are more on display. The rush out of the door that can obscure the feelings behind the face has stopped. There’s time for the sounding out of the heart behind that surprising comment heard at the breakfast table.

Many benefits to having time. Many opportunities during this summer stretch. And big prayers for my own heart as I give over my days, seeking to give grace again and again as I hear my patience slide out of the front door before we’ve got to lunchtime.

I’m grateful that rather than mustering up a summer of perfect parenting, I can pray to my powerful, ‘in the everyday’ God who loves to pour out His love on me so that I can pour out my love on them. The opportunities are big, for their hearts and for mine as we jog through this summer, trying to keep our eyes on Jesus.


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