Treading Water

Summer has never been an easy season for me, at least not since I was a young child.

I worked during my high school summers, and spent my college summers working almost full time as well. The summer between my junior and senior year of college, I took four classes as well; the days from that summer, those looong days of waiting tables in Annapolis then racing down Route 50 to sit through four hours of class each night, are a blur in my memory.

Summer, in the years of our marriage before kids, was, well, summer. Just another season, more work to do in the yard, more hot days to swelter, more warm nights made for cookouts with friends.

Then we had kids.

And summer changed forever.

It wasn't too bad when Becky, then Huck, were tiny together. Those lazy summer days of babyhood and toddlerhood may have been long and tiring, but there was a definite schedule to keep and naps - oh sweet, blessed naps - for them to take. Bedtime came a bit later, but not much; they were tired lumps of kiddos at the end of those summer days.

By the time little Tom came along, the terms of summer had changed. Now there were three of them (oh, how I was outnumbered) and Becky had long since given up napping. Huck still napped, but not for long and was usually woken up by the hollering of his baby brother. Summer days were still long, longer than their bodies could really keep up with, but there was no telling them that; by golly, if the sun was up there would be no sleeping in or going to be early!

Now all three are older and summer, my friends, has become the season I try to simply survive. I love them dearly, those blue eyed kiddos of mine, and love spending time with them, but my summer days begin at sixish (because the sun is up and why should I sleep? says Huck) and end around nine when the oldest finally turns in for the night.

While I don't fret about someone toddling too close to the stairs anymore or sticking a finger into a stray electrical socket, the fact that they are older means no more nap times for anyone. I miss those quiet times, those times that have now evolved into the Late Afternoon Sibling Squabble Hour.

I know that summer will evolve again as they grow a bit older; little Tom is still young enough to be a grumpy mess by five o'clock and Becky and Huck are just starting to see the worthiness of spending a little alone time in their rooms during the end of the afternoon. Changes are always just over the horizon when raising children.

I'm not so naive as to hope for easy summers again, but I am hopeful enough to dream of summer days that don't leave me drained both physically and mentally.

And I am counting the days on the calendar, my friends.