Do you feel guilty about not being able to afford fancy, big trips with your kids during the summer?
When my kids come home from school and tell me what Josey is doing this summer,
“Mom, MOM, Josey’s parents are taking her on this huge trip this summer. She will be horseback riding in the mountains and swimming with dolphins! Can we do this?”
Then the guilt sets in.
Not being able to do all these amazing things with my kids, like swimming with dolphins, horseback riding in the mountains, camping in the rainforest, makes my job feel useless. I was starting to think I needed four more jobs to catch up to these families and make sure my kids have an amazing summer.
But I let this sink in a little bit, thinking, “What do I remember doing as a child during the summer?”
Of course, I remember the trips we took as a family, but what are the things that stick in my mind the most?
I am sitting on the counter in my kitchen, reading a Cosmopolitan magazine, while my mom makes dinner. I’m doing the little quizzes like “What actor best describes your personality?” That’s what I remember.
Waking up Saturday morning to my dad cutting the lawn, the smell of fresh-cut grass coming through the window with the morning breeze. I looked out the window to see him jamming to music with his big headphones on. That’s what I remember.
Going grocery shopping with my mom, and we always grabbed cold-cut meat and a bun and cold salad for lunch. After we unpacked all the groceries, we’d sit together and chat about what we would do for the rest of the day. That’s what I remember.
When I was younger, I always wanted a sandbox. All my friends had these cool, unique sandboxes. Every time I went to their houses, I would come home and say, “Daddy, I want a sandbox.” Of course, he would reply, “Soon, Honey, soon.”
As a parent myself, I now realize this could have been a situation where we couldn’t afford one, or my dad was busy at the time. But one day, I came home from school to see a huge tractor tire in the yard, and my dad had turned it into a giant sandbox. That’s what I remember.
We are all stressing ourselves out not being able to do these big trips and incredible experiences with our kids.
But they will remember you singing with them, driving down the road with the windows down, blaring music. They will remember breakfast for dinner. Or impromptu movie night, on a weeknight.
The point is, I may continue to feel some guilt about not being able to take my kids on all these crazy, big trips like snorkeling with tortoises or backpacking to find Bigfoot. But what I can give them are sweet memories that will stay with them forever.
My two girls and I were doing the dishes together. The dishwasher broke and didn’t wash any of the dishes. We had to do them all by hand, including all the dinner dishes. As we were in the kitchen, dancing, singing, flinging water at each other, I stood there for a moment, taking it all in.
This is what they will remember.