There has been a lot of conversation and writing this year about having 18 summers with our children. If you’ve missed it then I salute you, it probably means that you’ve either not been glued to social media or you’ve managed to side step the discussion. It came up on my timeline several times over. The thing is, I don’t have 18 summers with my boys. I have forever.
With every passing year my children change. They grow. They slowly but surely find their feet, their voices. They learn to do things for themselves. Using the toilet is one big milestone. Doing up laces is perhaps another. Riding a bike, zipping up a coat, cutting up their food. You name it they start to do it. I am proud of their achievements and the people that they are. I celebrate the little moments as well as the big. So I just don’t see why that should ever change.
When they reach 18 they will be young adults, ready to roam and fly the nest as it were. The nest though, our home, will be there for them for as long as Jacob and I are in it. It will be there when they find a life partner. It will be there if grandchildren come along. It will be there every day of every year, just as it is now.
The idea of 18 summers focuses on only having 18 summers whilst they are children. Really though, when I was 15 or 16 I don’t recall hanging out with my parents that much. I had my first job and spent a lot of time earning and saving for my future. I am pretty sure that I went on holiday with my parents (I recollect exploring Northumberland with them both when I was around that age) but I am also confident that I was given the choice of whether or not to go.
It also assumes that children behave like young children until they are 18. I don’t think either of my parents would have presumed to tell me what to do when I was a teenager. I like to think that they raised an independently minded woman who can stand on her own two feet, and I hope that I am doing the same with my boys.
Finally, counting down 18 summers feels as though we are charting a diminishing timeline, but to what? Retirement? Old age? The end of me being a Mama? I don’t think so! I have been on holiday as an adult with my father. Sure he didn’t have to pack my bags, but then I didn’t need to do that for Chief this summer and he was 7, nowhere near 18! Yes, when we go home I go to my home and my father goes to his, but we’ve still had that time together.
So am I counting down 18 summers with my children? Absolutely not! I am aiming to take each day as it comes. To enjoy each weekend, each holiday and each seasonal period with them. I hope that lasts forever.
What do you think about the idea of 18 summers? Do you feel pressure to make each one spectacular or are you hoping (or do you know) that the fun will last beyond childhood days? Let me know!