After a summer away adjusting to life in the sandwich generation and debating how to balance the blog and the new business, I decided that the blog was too therapeutic to ignore any longer. My thoughts the last few months have created a traffic jam in my brain, and the occasional leaks of incoherent ramblings ( I’m sorry, my friends who had to listen!) simply confirmed the necessity of regularly processing  my thoughts into words.

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It was a different sort of summer at our house, as the effects of children growing older altered our typical family plans. My family has a reunion over the fourth of July every year, but this year our immediate family was represented only by the mother-daughter contingent. Our 15 year old spent his first summer away working at a summer camp and our 12 year old and Dad had Boy Scout camp scheduled the week of July 4. It was a pleasant trip for the two of us, but bittersweet as I realized that our days of traveling there as a family are probably over, at least for the next few years. Talking with my aunts who grew up overseas and spent their high school years in boarding schools, I gained a whole new perspective on the concept of the empty nest.  “Why does everyone always say, “When they’re gone, they’re gone?” quipped one aunt. “Here we are!  We didn’t go anywhere!”

And, my son who was “gone” for the summer was really only gone  a week at a time, as we picked him up each Friday night and brought him home long enough  to sleep and wash his clothes and take him back again on Sunday.  I was truly amazed at how smoothly the transitions went and how naturally the family dynamics flowed back and forth with and without him in the house. It gave me hope that the transition to college, early or not, will be a positive experience.  We were also thrilled to see the independence and responsibility that he exhibited at camp.  Some of that has dissipated as he has been home for several weeks now, and I’m forced to ask myself – does he feel too safe and comfortable at home?  Will I have to be that mean mother bird that pushes her baby out of the nest? I hope not.

Summer, for me, always seems to be a time to slow down and reflect on the past year. I guess I’ve been in the educational mindset for so long that the new year for me begins in the fall. And so, as summer draws to a close, I am making my lists of all the things that I’ll do differently this year and all the activities that my kids and that we as a family need. My husband and I were fortunate enough to get a weekend away with time to talk about what our priorities are for each child and for us for the coming year.  As Ecclesiastes 3:1 states,” There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”

The trick, as we all know, is not trying to fit every activity under heaven into this one season!