"I Only Have ___ Summers Left With Them."

“I can’t believe they are going to kindergarten!”

“Where did the time go?”

“I only have 5 more summer vacations with them!”

These are statements I have seen and heard repeated lately over social media and in conversations. I have lived all of these statements and thought my heart would break thinking I only had a certain amount of time left with my kids. I thought when they left home it would be the end of our family. Why do we automatically assume that once they graduate high school they are done with us?

Fast forward to today… I have lived through both of my children graduating high school and my heart is still intact! 

When we think of time passing we think of ourselves aging too. We start to think of life without the daily chaos of our kids running in and out of the door. We’re caught between fearing the future and hanging onto the past. You never quite get used to the quiet when they are gone. You doget used to having your own space again. 

I hope you are reading this and really taking this in because my boys are now 23 and 21. I feel that I am in the bestplace as their mother. I have seen firsthand the fruits of my labor come full circle. Here are a few things my family has done to keep our connection:

1.    Out of the House Doesn’t Mean Out of Our Lives: Just because they grow up and go to college doesn’t mean you won’t get time with them. We make our time count when we are together. We have a lot of fun experiences. Some my husband and I plan. Some my boys plan.  


2.    Try to Talk to Them:If you can, don’t let them go to their room and hibernate! Get them out and in front of you. Let them know that their opinion matters. Give them expectations and rules. It is true that kids thrive on it. Want to know the best rule we ever created? We don’t allow cell phones during a meal. We talk, laugh, and enjoy one another’s company. Find common ground and common interests. Do this one-on-one or with the entire family. 


3.    Live in The Present:If you aren’t careful, living in the future will rob you of the present. Time will always be your enemy. Take what you can get and roll with it.

Last weekend my younger son and I went on an impromptu trip to Asheville. We walked, talked, went on a beer tour, visited the Biltmore house, and had delicious dinners. We did all of this in 48 hours and because it was his idea, I said, “yes.” There was laundry to fold, dishes to clean and work to be done but I gladly let that go until our return because I knew saying “yes” might mean he’d want to do it again sometime. Being away from it all gave me time to focus on him; his upcoming internship, his college life, personal goals, and what beer he liked best at the tasting. Don’t let obstacles such as laundry get in the way of spending time with your kids. They are, after all, your best investment and a reflection of yourself. When you sit across the table from your 21-year-old at dinner as I did, what kind of person do you want to see? I saw my child in a new light because we had time away. 


Take the time to invest in your future and when you do make sure that it is a good return on investment. My grandmother used to say, “time waits for no one”. So, don’t wait and don’t waste time thinking that you only have _________ summers left with them. When you are invested you reap the rewards. Put in the parenting work, sacrifice and love them and they will gladly go on any vacation you want. Especially if you pay! 😊

You can read more of Shelly’s parenting tips in her book Starting From Scratch and can purchase it here. You can follow Shelly on Instagram hereand Facebook here.  

Kelly Wallace