It all started after I attended our oldest sons school trip. He was in a grade five/six split this past year and although he was one of the youngest ones in the class, he grew up quickly. Being on his school trip, amidst his maturing adolescent peers, I realized that the approaching summer would be one of a handful of uninterrupted summers left to fully embrace childhood memory making with our almost eleven year old. After all, summer jobs will come and camps will come and he will eventually end up coming and going more than staying. At least, I know that is what it was like for me.
The first time one comes to the realization that there is a time stamp on your life and your current normal, you are shocked. Thoughts like, Didn’t we just bring him home from the hospital? come to mind. Truly, motherhood is proving to be a blur of wishing time to hurry up and just as fast wishing time to slow down to a haunting freeze.
But with all good shocking realities, the thought of a handful of summers left as an undistracted family of five allowed me to deeply evaluating our lives.
How did time go so fast? Would time continue to pass just as quickly? If so, how could we make the most of our time together? How do I picture his childhood memories looking? What do we want our memories of his childhood to look like? How do I picture all of our children’s childhood memories looking like? How can we maintain this time in our lives where all of our children are still mostly influenced by us?? What do we want them to value? What do we value? How can we take the time we have left and teach them those values and yet still squeeze every drip drop of goodness out of their laid back care free childhood?
I momentarily felt like I was back in College, a week before exams, questioning how I would possibly ace my tests and conquer my life that was laid out before me when I had let lectures and projects breeze by without ever really soaking in the chaos of early morning classes and late night study sessions. I wanted time to stand still.
Realizing that we have surpassed a decade of parenting our eldest was a monumental mama moment and it was sadly filled with a little regret. The last few years have whipped by after all, in a blur of renovations and deadlines and although we maintain family traditions and a lot of down time with our children, I suddenly questioned if that was enough.
There wouldn’t be an exam to write at the end of our children’s childhood because there wouldn’t be an actual end to parenting; however I truly felt in that moment, on that school trip with little wanna be mini adults, that we were turning the corner of a new semester of life. One, I wanted to really really score well in. With the point system being valued in memories.
How can we take the time we have left and teach them those values and yet still squeeze every drip drop of goodness out of their laid back care free childhood?
And then, just as quickly as the thoughts and worries had come to mind, I took a deep breath, looked back on the last eleven years of our parenting, offered myself some grace and realized we have always been living like we we are in exam crunch time. I looked at my library invoice statement and saw the slew of parenting books I had soaked up after the kids bed time, I recalled the parenting podcasts and the husband and wife chats late into the night discussing how we could improve on our jobs as dad and mom.
I realized there would never be enough time to teach our children everything, to instill all the character traits we wanted them to grow to achieve, and to love them so ferociously that they would never need therapy. No, I realized that our job would never be done and that there would always be enough summers to teach another lesson or spend more time together. After all, our parenting gig doesn’t expire when our children spend less time with us and more time independently, right?
Even though our quality family time is in fact admittedly limited, the bottom line is that we really truly madly deeply want to make that time together special for all of us.
And then, as quickly as thoughts like these come and go, and as swift as doubts enter and exit, a bright idea came to mind and grew and grew and grew until it lit up my imagination so, that night time and sleep couldn’t diminish it’s intensity. Eventually it grew into a dream that simply needed a plan to come to fruition. I love bright ideas, don’t you?
And so, #thecampercottage developed. Over night seemingly, at a growing intensity that all of the good and brightest ideas are known for. I reasoned that in order to make the most undistracted memories for our family, we needed to find an immediate way to unplug, and soak up the fleeting moments I was mentally grasping for. Also, a fun project is always a great family bonding experience, right?
Introducing, #thecampercottage, our hopeful four walled escape who’s close proximities will have us sharing space for a time and family memories forever.
Check back often as we DIY our tiniest “home” yet!!