We’ve all heard it a million times. “You only get 18 summers with your kids, so make them count!” Well, I think that is just a bunch of bull poop.
While theoretically, I suppose this is true for many, it’s just one more thing to add to the already too heavyweight of worry, pressure, and stress that is thrust upon parents (particularly moms who already bear the weight of the majority of the parenting decisions).
The 18 summer theory has two major flaws. First, it assumes that once a child turns 18 they will no longer be around for family vacations, summer bonfires, and fireworks. As most Millenials, and now Gen Zers will attest, this is rarely the case. While generations before us might have fled the nest and never looked back, the cost of living on your own at 18 is just generally not feasible for most. So sorry parents, most of your tiny tots are going to still be hanging around and stealing your smores for at least a few years past their high school graduation.
The second major issue I find with the 18 summers theory is that it assumes that everyone will get 18 summers. As a parent that has experienced loss, I know firsthand that even those 18 summers aren’t guaranteed. While it’s wonderful to think that we will all get 18 magical summers filled with pool days, shaved ice, and too much sunblock, that’s not always the case and for those of you who get short-changed in this department, it’s just one more reminder that life is unfair and that there are so many memories you will never get to make.
The moral of this story, no matter how many summers you get, whether it is 42 or just 2, have fun! I’ve been the mom that makes a summer bucket list and works hard to make sure we check off all the fun summer activities. And that’s great! But it’s also not necessary.
COVID quarantine last summer gave us a chance to reset and reevaluate our bucket list. While we still love to make a list of things we want to do, it’s become a much more intentional list full of family movie nights at home and afternoons spent at the park
Enjoy your kids! Enjoy your summers with them, but stop stressing about how much time we have left with them. This last year and a half has taught us even more that nothing in this life is guaranteed. Just enjoy the moments we have together and relax knowing that at the end of the day the best memories are the ones when you are together and having fun – be that at Worlds of Fun or at home playing Mario Kart all afternoon.
Enjoy your family. Enjoy your kids. Enjoy your summer, and don’t worry about counting down the days with them.