You know those moms who, if their child forgets his or her lunch at home, she doesn't bring them another one because 'they need to learn about consequences' and such? (I'm not being mean about those moms, FYI.) I'm just not one of those moms. And I think it's good for us to know who we are and who we're not and to be comfortable in our own skin. Jeff and I run a pretty easy household. I thought about that this afternoon. We'd just had lunch and I was eating a cookie (a s'more flavored cookie, loveys. A new level of awesome that you find in the refrigerated section of your grocery store). Anyway, I'm having one, and Ashtyn comes over to me and asks shyly, "Can I have a cookie, Mama?" I kissed her and smiled and said, "Of course." Like I'm going to say no. We say yes way more than we say no at our house. And cookies and ice pops and Capri Suns are part of my kids' daily life. (Or Ashtyn's really--except for the Capri Sun. She only wants water! Linc just so happens not to be a big dessert person. Now if we're talking grape juice or chocolate milk--he'd live on those two things if I'd let him.) It's not a big deal to me. I was trying to think of what would have happened if I'd forgotten my lunch at home while growing up. Then I realized that my dad would have just swung over to Sonic in his patrol car and picked up a brown bag lunch for me and all would have been fine with the world again. I grew up in an easy home too.
I know some kids grow up in more disciplined, strict homes. Their parents are very intentional about what their kids are allowed to eat or how much screen time they get. And, to be honest, I've felt a bit of the disapproval of other moms when it comes to my kids watching lots of cartoons and eating whatever I happen to have around at the time--or, gasp, doing both at the same time.
I don't care. I like easy. I like a relaxed atmosphere. I like how I grew up. I like the feeling in my home with my family. I love my kids past the point of obsession, and so does Jeff. I love that Ashtyn is awesome and sweet and funny and slightly afraid of everything and fiercely protective of her brother and she thinks dessert ought to follow breakfast and lunch and every meal. I love that Lincoln is the cutest thing ever and he's super quick to say I'm sorry (a thousand times a day, which is how often he makes me nuts). I love that even though my kids are afraid of lots of things, they are never afraid of me and Jeff. Because they know they are adored. Home is their favorite place. When Ash was little and would get hurt somehow, she'd come crying to me and say something like, "Look what happened to my precious foot!"
Seriously. Because every inch of her is precious and valuable to me and she knows it.
Every family has their own way of doing things and that's totally okay. And so many ways work well. Some do not. It truly breaks my heart to think of kids afraid in their own home. Or their every movement controlled by someone else. Kids who hear no all the time.
It's summertime. And I was feeling a bit frustrated that time is slipping by and we haven't done all that much since school let out. Then Jeff reminded me that we don't have to. Our house was a new-build when we moved in about ten months ago. We didn't pay to have the backyard done at that time, so the plan was always that we'd get it done in time for summer. Jeff has spent the past six weeks working back there to get it ready for the kids. (He's really such an amazing dad!) He's been working so hard so our kids could run out the back door and have all kinds of fun in our backyard. Without having to go anywhere. That's the summer I wanted! Lazy mornings with breakfast and pajamas and cartoons. Playtime in the backyard so I don't have to cart all three kids anywhere (which gives me major anxiety). Popsicles in the afternoon. Peppa Pig when Linc gets too tired and needs to rest. I'm still adjusting to life with three kiddos (though I already cannot even imagine not having Lily! Jeff says the same thing). We need an easy summer. I need an easy summer.
My sister Laura is getting married in the fall. This weekend Father of the Bride Parts 1 and 2 were on TV. Which basically means I was weeping while I watched them. Seriously. Watch this and tell me you aren't crying.
The truth is, when this movie first came out I watched it a million times. I watched it the year I was getting married too, and I can't watch this particular scene without crying. Watching it this time, however, I was emotional in a different way. Thinking of Laura, of course, makes it tug at my heart strings. But then I thought of Ashtyn. Now I'm the mom and that's my little girl. And you know what struck me, how parents go back in their minds to those days when their kids are small. It's sort of like the golden years. They go quick and you can't get them back and you treasure them forever.
That's where I'm living. And it's good to be reminded. So waking up and making over-easy eggs and watching the kids play outside while I'm holding Lily--this is right where I want to be. And this life Jeff and I are building together--through good days and bad days and perfect moments and not-so-perfect moments and chocolate milk and cheese pizza and nights where I catch Jeff tearing up while watching Big Hero 6--that's where I live. We can do it how we want. These are the days we'll want to remember forever.
It's your summer too, loveys. Do it how you want. Make it golden and beautiful. Say yes.