By Kelly Hines

There’s less than a week left of summer for many of us. Five days, if you count today. Four business days. One weekend. One last grasp of the sleep past six, don’t pack lunches, no homework, showers optional summer. While a part of me welcomes getting back to routine, to work, to structure – most of me wants to lie down on the ground and scream like a two year old.

Nonononononononononono NO!

It always goes by too fast. The promises I made at the beginning of summer (“We have all summer to do that!”) I am now scrambling to fulfill. My 8 year old made a poster the last week of school with all the things she wanted to do this summer, and I am heartbroken to see we’ve missed some of them. Not enough pj days, not a single summer s’more, no visit to a farm to see a piglet.

I am left feeling, as I often do, that I have failed. That is has not been enough. It’s a terrible trap of parenthood, the desperate wish to give our children everything without spoiling them. To give them experiences, to make every moment teachable, to capture every memory instead of living it. When did I stop recognizing all that we’ve done, and start worrying about what we didn’t get to do?

We have spent countless hours at the pool and ate more cookies than any one family should. My teenager went on an amazing adventure and served others. My girls spent a hot and sweaty week at camp and became best friends with kids but couldn’t remember their names. My little boy turned the color of a graham cracker and conquered his fear of the four foot section of the pool. We fished, and cried when thumbs got hooked, and went out and tried again. We had forty-seven lemonade stands and made $12. We were grateful for friendships, old and new. We came to the realization that vacations are lovely, but the place we like being the very most is home, with each other.

And that is something that never changes.

Next week, I will get everyone to bed on time and pack fabulous lunches. We will all get used to new schools, and new schedules, and new friends. The kids will write about what they did this summer, and not about what they didn’t get to do. September will be over in a blur, and suddenly everything that was new will be old hat. Fall will go faster than summer, and before we know it, winter break will be upon us. We will wonder how in the world we only have three shopping days left until Christmas, and then, almost immediately, start planning end of year parties. Then it will be June again, and we’ll all breathe a collective sigh.

Then we’ll turn off the alarms and remember once again how much we love summer.