18 Summers

I love this picture. It’s not Christmas. It’s not Halloween. It’s not anyone’s birthday. It’s an utterly ordinary day when my kids were ages 6, 6, 4 and 2. We were just doing our daily morning run around routine. The first stop was by foot -- to drop my twins off at their first grade school just around the corner. For some reason, a very wise and lovely teacher said “Wait! Let me take a picture of you all. You will someday want to remember this.”

Remember this? What was so remarkable about this? It was just another hectic morning. Our first hustle was to the first grade drop off. Next, we had to pile in the car for the pre-school drop off. I’m pretty sure that all I wanted to do was just get everyone to school already so I could finally get to tennis! But, I’m so glad I listened, stopped and slowed down to capture this incredibly regular moment.

So much has changed since then. I don’t play tennis anymore because I went back to work. My big kids are in high school and my little one is in middle school (don’t worry, she gave up the pacifier!) And, those two adorable first graders? They will both be heading to college in the fall.

I don’t necessarily want to go back to those days. They were exhausting! However, I have realized that I do like having all of my chickens in the nest, even if they drive me nuts. They bicker. They claim we have no food in the house. (We do.) They steal every single working iPhone charger that I own. They leave wet towels on the bed…and the floor. But, when even one of them is away, I feel out of sorts. It’s seems too quiet and a little bit too orderly.

Whether I like it or not, August is coming. The girls will be going to college. So, I am trying to remind myself to embrace the chaos while they are all still here. Like the days of piling in the red wagon for school drop off, it will be over before I know it. Until then, I’m going to hold on tight to every hectic, fight-filled very ordinary day.

By Annie Sullivan

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