A few years ago, Michelle Cox developed ideas around the idea that parents have just eighteen summers between their child’s first breath and when they leave the house as an adult. That seems like a lot of time until you realize how quickly the Earth orbits around the sun, and all of those sweet old ladies stopping you in Target to tell you to cherish the days as your two year old falls down on the floor, crying and screaming, as you try to buy diapers and milk — all of a sudden those “enjoy the moment” comments don’t seem so crazy when the kids are almost as tall as you are.
So eighteen summers to solidify a relationship that breaks your heart and knits it back together nearly every day seems like a split-second sometimes, right? Those summer vacations you work hard to earn for, both financially and time-wise, that sometimes seem slogged by rain or work calls or an unfortunately timed illness or a cranky in-law, they are snapshots you want to hold onto even if the frame is a little off.
The folks who complain about the end of the school year – because they’ll be “stuck” with their kids – or cheer the beginning of the next year – because they’ll finally be unstuck — they haven’t considered the ramifications of the eighteenth summer expiring. It’s sad, as we try to pump the breaks on them growing up (in a bad way) while begging them to grow up (in a good way).
And then… coronavirus or COVID-19… and suddenly, what if there are nineteen summers?
Now, hold on, I know there’s still work to be done and homework to be watched over and chores, shopping, yardwork, etc. But what if how we defined a nineteenth summer opened us up to realizing that we could make amazing memories – seriously, who is EVER going to forget this spring – and realized that we could actually spend the time doing things we never thought we’d get to do?
Spend time reading a favorite book, together. …
Break open the stash of old family movies, and share stories about who’s who that they’ve never met. …
Experience more walks around the block or the park, listening to the things that make them tick and sharing the things you care about. …
Watching the movies you loved as a kid or a young adult with them, and asking them what they think….
Baking in the kitchen, drawing on the porch, building on the deck…
Teaching them about what we think about God and deep metaphysical questions and asking them what they think and what questions they have…
What if we saw this crazy “shutdown” as an opportunity to extend the shelf-life of their childhood, and built relationships that were strengthened for now and later?
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
Finally, someone wrote…A Good One!… It is right on time!
May I be so bold to add a bit here… While walking someone was over heard to say…You know, I heard that there are more birds in the cities now! Don’t you hear them AND how loud they are! And someone else said….Yes, I do hear them.I also hear how quiet the city is and how sweet the air tastes!
Ain’t it amazing how you hear, taste and smell things again, all while being with your best friend.
When ya gonna get old enuff to play ( ball) again?
Jack and Sally