Lost in Summer’s Expectation

When the bell rings on the last class of the season and tennis shoes walk out the door to summers freedom, expectation greets them at the car door. Of sun-kissed shoulders, sandy toes, and high fives from friends. Airplane rides to crystal seas, boats on still water with fishing line hanging over the edge catching dinner at the end.

But reality feels like a beat up chevy stalled in a wheat field, a map I can’t read laid out on the hood of the car in a spot with no cell service. I’m not sure how to navigate a summer with teens when my expectation is headed to the busy streets of France and they are on their way to a deserted island of slumber.

In the age of innocence we sat for hours at a low table of finger paint and rolling play doh, playing Frisbee in a pool that now feels awkward without friends.  The eyes that met mine eye level laid out horizontal in the bed before the sun peeked through shades, now stay closed long past the cheerios and milk are put away.

And those expectations of summer, they have me wondering how to be a Mother and I can’t find that chapter in What to Expect When Your Expecting.

Joining Five Minute Friday with Lisa-Jo with the one word prompt: Expectation.

 

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22 Responses to Lost in Summer’s Expectation

  1. Yes. The age of innocence. With one at age 17 and another at age 7, I oftentimes find myself in a crazy world between studying for the S.A.T. exam and getting ready for a Cub Scout field trip. I skip from one to the other. From innocence to adulthood. And then back again. Did you remember your wallet? Did you put your bowl in the sink? Of course, I wouldn’t trade a thing. I learn so much from them. I learn about myself as I watch them.

    Great post on expectations!

    • Denise, I have missed you. Fun to see you on several posts. I wish we lived near each other, to link arms during this season with our kids. I’m like you, wouldn’t trade a thing. Because the difficult, challenging seasons have made me who I am, helped me to grow in ways I didn’t expect.

  2. Lynn Morrissey says:

    Oh Shelly, what a wonderful opportunity for you to begin relating to your children, your teens, on an even deeper and more intimate level. Teen is just a word in the dictionary, and as easily as it can seem a terrifying one, it can be a terrific one. You have such a sweet, sensitive heart and I sense, a ready, listening ear, and the long, languid days (and nights) of summer offer opportunities to linger lavishly in each other’s presence….to share, to laugh, to relate, to luxuriate. I found it more difficult to relate to my daughter in the play-doh stage, but having spent that time with her, it has now given me an entree into her grown-up years. We don’t generally make summer plans, but let summer unspool its soft thread of simple, sumptuous pleasures–then one does not have the pressure of trying to meet expectations. We take the days as they come (save for planning a vacation), by just enjoying this more relaxed season. A less formal structure allows Sheridan to rise early or sleep late (who cares? :), and I just roll with the flow. We take walks, listen to beautiful music, sing together, visit those St. Louis landmarks, with which I know you are well familiar, read, do nothing, do everything…..but mostly, just talk….or to be more accurate, she does more talking than her usually verbose mother, and I concentrate on really trying to listen to her. Anyway, I certainly do understand the feeling of not being able to read the map, because the map has changed. Maybe it’s a clue not to attempt to read the map at all, but just follow the Guide who will lead you *faithfully* through these years, as you follow Him a step at a time, to help you and your teens negotiate this passageway straight through to the destination of their adulthood. Big pictures can often be overwhelming. Small steps are do-able. No doubt you will encounter both beautiful vistas and harrowing cliffs, but your Guide will not fail you or let you or your teens plummet over the edge. He promises to go before you to winnow your path, and to walk beside you to give you courage. True, at times, we stumble, but it’s so reassuring to know that “underneath are His everlasting arms,” and the only gulf into which we fall is the palm of His strong, omnipotent hand. I think that that is an expectation upon which you can reliably count. Wishing you much joy on this teenage trip, Shelly! Journey forth in joy.

  3. Shelly, today is my kids’ last day of school — and I so treasure your words here as I often enter summer with a heaviness, wanting so much to “do it right” and feeling lost, in the expectation of it all. And my oldest is just entering his years as a “tween”. . . . I am so grateful for your beauty of words here, of hands outstretched, not knowing the answers. You move me to pray, to seek His face, to turn over all fears to Him. Thank you so much, friend. And I pray for connection — in the new way He always promises — with your dear ones. Love to you.

    • Jennifer, I have to say that it is nice to hear someone else say they feel heavy when summer starts. I often feel like I must be the only one that feels that way. I’ve already had some beautiful time with my first born who passed the in-between stage into flourishing loveliness. My son is smack dab in the middle of it being uncool to be with parents and not old enough to be on his own. I just pray a lot and trust He will lead me through this one like he did the other. :)

  4. Jillie says:

    It’s kinda funny that you would post this today. I am through all the teenage years—children grown and married now. But I just happened to spend over an hour on the phone last night with my niece (in-law) who IS in this very season right now. Her 2 girls are lined up with jobs this summer, which is very helpful, and these girls will probably spend a great deal of their off-time…sleeping. She had stories of what it’s been like this year, so far, attempting to keep her girls safe. I didn’t agree with all her ‘methods’ of parenting, but we did agree on the fact that it’s become a whole new ballgame raising girls in this world today…different even from when I raised my daughter only a few short years ago. It is downright scary sometimes. Realized just how much I need to be praying her and her girls through this very challenging time. Summer can be very difficult with trying to keep them busy and involved with ‘healthy activity’. This is the age of ‘innocence lost’, and my niece is constantly busy with trying to ‘keep tabs’ on her girls,,,as well as being aware of who their friends are and what kind of friends they are. I don’t envy her and don’t wish to return to those years. My daughter was blessed to usually be involved with youth groups and Christian friends, but these 2 great-nieces of mine do not have that.

    • Fortunately, “keeping tabs” on my teen has been minimal for me. She has great wisdom when it comes to picking friends and chooses church activities as the central part of her social life. She has that responsible first born thing goin’ on and this mama is so grateful.

  5. Christina says:

    My kids are younger yet I still feel the pangs of the past. They move through life so much faster than I. When I finally catch up, they’ve moved on. I can only imagine what it’ll be like when they are teenagers. By then, you’ll be through it and can help me figure it out:)

  6. Clearly I’m a cow!
    I am so grateful that my teen sleeps in! I love him dearly, but he knows everything, so when he’s sleeping I get to be the adult with the experience that’s been-there-done-that, even if it’s only knowing more than the kitchen I’m currently cleaning.

    My 4 year old still thinks I know everything, so that’s a plus. I love my Angel boy, and he’s got some really interesting (and occasionally learned) opinions, but some days I could just ducktape him! So let him sleep, I say!

    In from Five Minutes

    • Wise in their own eyes is what I call it. And tiring! :) I know what you mean about the trasformation for being the one they love seeing at the end of the day to being the one who doesn’t seem to know anything. That is a blog post all on its own!

  7. Tracey says:

    Well I have a new teen(just 13), a tween, and an almost four year old. So I have to be creative and flexible. Both of which are a stretch for me most days. :) Happy Friday! Here’s to charting our own motherhood road maps!

    BTW…followed you over from Lisa-Jo’s place. Loved your 5 minutes!

  8. r.elliott says:

    shelly…yes teens years are uncharted waters…I was passed a house the other day and saw a blow-up pool…kids on little riding toys…dad grilling out…part of me longed for those days when life was much simpler…but God has wonderful treasures hidden in these years…and He alone has the map to each of their hearts. He will guide and lead you through these rich years.
    wow still always amazed what you can do in 5 min. :)

  9. When you navigate this season and learn the answers to your questions, please let me know. I will face the same issues soon enough. As usual, beautifully written.

  10. each season changes doesn’t it? bringing with it something new. something different, right when we thought we could count on some pattern, we knew what we could expect. i hope this summer surprises you in new good ways.

  11. kd sullivan says:

    Welcome to my world! It is different when you have teens. Sleep is a big treat to them…and then they are up later. We used to do midnight showings of major films they were looking forward to. That was always fun!

    • glad to know I am in good company on this one Kim. I wish we could sit down and talk about it. Actually, after I wrote this, I had a wonderful day with my daughter. She talked non-stop and we laughed hard. It was great.

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