Sunday, August 15, 2010

Summer's End Approaches

When the kids were little, their favorite babysitter was Aunt Bonnie. At Bonnie's there were wonderful cousins to play with, and wonderful dolls, and a play structure in the back yard, and yummy snacks, and so much more.

Invariably, when I returned to pick them up, Emily would take one look at me and burst into tears. "But Mom, we haven't started playing yet!"

I could never figure this out. It could be half an hour or four hours, and she would always be in tears and would always insist that they were just ready to start playing but hadn't started yet. And she would beg to stay longer, and I would have to say no.

That's how I feel this summer.

Here I have about six precious weeks with all of my kids at home, and I keep thinking, one of these days I'll have time to really enjoy them. But until then it's all rush rush rush, boys off to the warehouse, huge meals to cook, birthdays to celebrate, Matt hunting in the fridge for leftovers before he leaves for work, writing deadlines, water the flowers before they die, feed and water the hens before they do the same, endless dishes and pitchers of iced tea, company coming and going, out to the coast for our anniversary, mountains of laundry, getting ready for a garage sale, having the garage sale and cleaning up afterwards, running Steven's supper down to the warehouse, speaking engagements in town, three kids teaching VBS and one attending, freezing blueberries, rush rush rush and hurry hurry and work like crazy.

But surely one of these times I can just ENJOY my kids!

This evening, suddenly, it was just Paul and me and Jenny here, and Paul's mom for a while. I was seized with a sadness and near-panic. Are we almost back to this, nearly everyone gone, the quietness, the emptiness, the ticking off each one in my head--ok, he's there, she's over there, the younger boys are at Dan's--with a quick prayer for each and the inevitable sense of distance and longing?

And I thought, so soon, they're going to be GONE and I HAVEN'T STARTED PLAYING YET!!


Postscript: this evening I asked Emily about these memories of her, and she said, "Well, we always had to decide which dolls we would play with, and give them all names, and decide which clothes they would wear, and who of us would be the mom and the dad, and then when we finally had all that decided and were about ready to start playing, then you would come back!"

Quote of the Day:
"Wow, Mom, maybe you should get excommunicated!"
--Emily, after she asked Paul what it means to get excommunicated and he said, among other things, that you could still attend church and all, but you wouldn't have any responsibilities.


  1. I've been having the same panicky feeling that school will be starting soon and we didnt get to play. Seems all I've done this summer was rush rush, referee, rush rush some more and do more referreeing. I guess thats the life of a young mother. Wondering if I played more .....maybe there wouldn't need to be so much referreeing. (is that a word?)
    Happy end of summer to ya.

  2. This was a poignant post! I loved the QOTD!

  3. I just returned from spending 2 full weeks playing with my 7-year-old grandson in Texas, a precious reward for my years of concentrated, playful mothering. I shared my adventures in my blog ( Very well written, Dorcas. Writing keeps our focus on the important things sharp, doesn't it!

  4. I love your writing, Mrs. Smucker. Definitely can identify with this post! And your church must need qualified people about as much as ours, according to your QOTD...which is a feature I admire greatly on your posts. :)

    I have a question for you: Did you blog when your children were like one and three?

    This is Luci Peachey case I show up as anonymous.

  5. Luci--I started blogging when my children were 6-19 years old. A good stage to start in, I think, although in some ways I wish I could have blogged in the baby days when we were up north and I would get very lonely. The connection with other moms would have been wonderful.
    I started writing for the newspaper when the children were 11 months to 13 years old. Not the easiest stage to find time to write, but it was only once a month--as it still is--and I certainly had lots of material to write about. My theory--15 minutes of writing a day keeps you sane.

  6. I too identify with your post. It's been one busy episode after another. However, now I am finally "playing"! I am spending a week with some of our children & grandchildren who live out-of-state.

  7. Dorcas, i feel that way with the way my children are so fast growing up, that summer is almost over and they'll soon be flying and i'm not ready.... so maybe these 'mom' feelings happen in many different stages.... having lived the past five years in china, i know that when ours leave we may be in many different places..... but if they are serving Him that is the MOST IMportant!! blessings as fall comes...

  8. oops, i forgot to sign my name :) this is becki sensenig

  9. Don't worry about being an empty-nester. I now have an entire sewing room, multiple beds on which to lay out quilt ideas and time to quilt, quilt, quilt!