Tonight, as my four-year old daughter came bounding up the stairs to wish me good night, she gave me a hard smooch and said, "I love you forever."
Moments earlier, I was sinking into coveted alone time after what had felt like many moments of park, pool, library, zoo, art museum, children's museum, book store, ice cream shop, board game cafe and bicycle path time.
Technically, we're only on day 18 of summer with 74 more to go...but it finally hit me tonight, that I have been going, going, going with my kiddos.
For me, that's a good thing.
Summer, much like my brand of parenting is a labor of love. I spend a lot of time with my children doing lots of things and truth be told, I love it. Typically, we start the day, me with coffee and a run...them with a croissant or granola...and a wish list that asks, "what do we want to explore today?"
So, tonight as I was reading a new book called, "If you find this letter," the following passage struck me...
"Aim for sticky love. It's big. It's loud. It makes you into the kind of person who leaves something behind when they finally turn to walk away. And though no one can quite touch it or understand the DNA of it, everyone can still tell, by the way the atmosphere has shifted in the room, that something was left behind."
This is the kind of love that I want in my life. An intentional, focused, mucky, sticky, available residue that is remembered.
And sometimes while I'm on the sidelines, listening to my littles hash it out with their friends or each other, I'm just so amazed and grateful that for a short time, I get this vantage.
For example, at the zoo yesterday, one of Sam's friends said, "Oh wow, look, it's pilgrims!" To which I replied, "Oh sweetheart, that's an Amish family. Traditionally, they subscribe to using minimal technology and live off the land." To which he said, "Why would anyone do that?" And my retort,"I suppose to get back to a simpler, more focused life." And he said, "Huh?" I couldn't stop laughing.
And then, today, Kate (7) and Claire (4) were fighting in the car on the way to the pool. "Claire, would you STOP singing. It's beyond annoying." To which Claire said, "Nope, the world needs more of me."
Shortly, after the summer started, Sam asked me what I did for a living. I told him lots of things...so many that I can't possibly list them all on a business card. It's a full life, I said. He pressed on, "No really, what's your job?" Again, I couldn't stop laughing.
Every moment at the library sharing stories and the pool splashing and the art museum painting and the park building sand castles gives me a chance to become stickier...more connected, more entrenched in the lives and hearts of the ones whom I love deeply.
That said, I'm not a saint. They're signed up for plenty of camps and swim teams...but overall, I am with them many, many hours. We laugh, we scream, we dole out consequences, we hope, we love.
This is the model of parenting that works for me. It's sticky and oohy gooey and lovely and hard and mine. Here's to more summer escapades.