Several years ago, my daughter, came to me at the end of summer break just two weeks until the start of school, crying. "I feel like I've wasted the whole summer. Now it's over and I didn't do anything." I tried to remind her of the trips to the lake and all the swimming at the pool, playing with friends and staying up late, but she was too wound up to listen. It was then that I decided, after realizing yet again how much she is just like me, that we needed a plan in place to releave these feelings of uselessness. So I created the "Summer Wish List". Now each year at this time, before the end of the school year, I ask my daughter to write a list of things she would like to accomplish over the summer break.
Her list this year is a good one. From learning to be more organized (yes, please, I agree) to volunteering at a local animal shelter "if I am old enough" to making tie-dye cupcakes, it's chock full of truly wonderful ways to spend some quality down time. And at the end of the summer, she will be able to look back on her time as well spent.
For me though, this is going to be the first summer of her life where I am working. Even when I was working part-time, my jobs were always school based so I too had summers off. This year however, even though I keep my own calendar and make my own hours, I will be working a great deal. A schedule where we both get a good amount of summer fun downtime together is what is plaguing me at the moment. And what to do with her when I am working? Those thoughts have occupied my attention for the better part of the month and I am still struggling with how to make it work.
For the moment, I've created a great workspace in my house so I can work from home most of the time. I've made arrangements for her to "work" at her karate studio when I must attend my weekly staff meeting. And I've decided to make a Summer Wish List of my own to keep myself accountable for remembering to have fun!
So here goes:
1) Spring, oops Summer Clean my house. Not fun, but must be done and something we can do together. She can learn some new skills and I can get my house back to my pre-working days. Seriously, I don't remember the last time I vacuumed and the dust is actually chunky at this point.
2) Take any clutter, surplus, extra collected while cleaning and sell it, consign it, donate it. I love freeing myself of STUFF!
3) Take time everyday to exercise together, to read together, to garden together, to cook together. It's just the two of us now and spending even the most mundane moments together will make our connection stronger. She's growing up, I'm working, her father and I are divorcing, our lives are changing drastically and rapidly. If we don't take the time to share our lives, we are going to miss it.
4) Go somewhere new, somewhere I would probably not have thought to go. The truth of the matter is that I can't afford to travel right now, but there are plenty of little adventures to be had right in our own backyard. New museums, new restaurants, even new towns. Maybe we'll just pull out the state map, pick a place and GO!
5) Work smarter not harder. Ever since I started back to work, I've been running. In many ways and on most days, I love it. I love the work I do and I love being back to work in general. But there are more times than I'd care to recall that I'm just spinning not really getting anything done. That's why I need to learn to walk away when my head is just not in it, take advantage of some of that mother/daughter time, and then once I'm refreshed, come back to it.
6) Learn to meditate. I've talked about this for years but I've reached a point where it would not just be a novelty but a necessity. I need to recharge to keep moving forward. There is no one but me here to handle my life and my daughter's. Without taking time out to put some energy back into me, I'm going to be angry which in turn with effect my daughter and our relationship. I can't let that happen. I need to find a way to center myself and get me back to whole. And I believe that meditation in the secret.
7) Be silly. It's just that simple and yet, just as hard.
8) Remind myself that for everything that is going poorly in my life, there is so much more that is going right. I have been blessed and I have much to be thankful for. But all too often the negative forces in my life pull me down and I'm mired in self doubt, self loathing, envy, sloth. But no more! I've worked too hard to rid myself of these 'loser' feelings. I must remain upbeat, alive, grateful.
That's it. My daughter had 28 things on her list but I've only got the eight. I guess I get to make those tie-dye cupcakes with her so that counts for me too. Seems like a tall order for just three months, but a start is all I need. Wish me luck!