Every summer, I have spectacular dreams about all the projects I will complete with my time away from the classroom.
I don’t know why I do it to myself.
I should know after 12 years of not accomplishing much in the summer that the summer break isn’t going to be a flurry of productivity.
I went to bed the other night wondering how I had no energy even though I had accomplished so little. I then began to question why I had not accomplished all I woke up thinking I would do that day.
It boiled down to the simple answer of presence.
I was present, not productive.
Here is how summer passes in my home:
I sit down to write, and my youngest asks me to watch a show or read a book with her. I finish cleaning the kitchen, and my middle child asks me to make cookies with her. I go out to get something from the garage, and my son asks me to play basketball.
In each moment, I have the chance to be productive or present.
I fight an internal battle, and mostly, I land on presence… but not always.
Sometimes productivity takes priority–I have to send an email, update the website, make a video, follow up with church guests, etc. There are also times I recruit the kids into the productivity of folding laundry, washing dishes, and such.
I don’t always get it right. Some days I should probably spend a little more time on the side of production, and some days I fail to focus on being present. To be honest, the days that I feel like I have really gotten it right are few and far between.
I just keep reminding myself that when the kids have grown up and moved out, I want to be able to look back without regret.
I want to be able to have a life that continues to be full when it doesn’t involve meeting their needs, but I also want to have filled their hearts and their minds with security, love, and an ability to be both productive and present in their own lives.
I probably won’t get the basement shelves painted white, organize the storage room, finish writing my second book, or purge the garage this summer. I will definitely miss some pickup basketball games, movies, and mini dance parties. But, I just pray that somewhere in the middle, I am getting this thing right.
I can’t put life on hold in order to give my kids never ending streams of attention, nor should I. However, I don’t want to miss out on the laughter and small fights that occur over board games and Uno cards.
If I’m doing it wrong, I’d rather err on the side of an incomplete checklist and happy kids.