02 September 2011

Parent Hacks admin: Explanations or excuses? Depends on your perspective.

LemonadeIt's the last week of summer vacation here in Portland...school starts the day after Labor Day. And I can't seem to spend a proper amount of time at the computer ("proper" for one who calls herself a blogger, at least). Hence the quiet emanating from Parent Hacks.

Oh, I have plenty of reasons, most of which have to do with the two children running around my house. One is starting middle school in less than a week, and the other is about to enter 3rd grade.

They're not the "because of the kids" reasons I used to give when they were younger. I sleep through the night (mostly), my kids feed themselves (mostly), and I have swatches of time to myself. Besides, if you're a regular reader of parenting blogs, "too busy" isn't really a reason. Just look at the work of Kristen, Liz, Gabrielle, Christine, or any of the other remarkably talented and productive writers who are juggling way more than I am.

I've also been working on something behind the scenes which I can't wait to share with you in the coming weeks. Hint: it's something I've been talking about doing for the last three years.

No, my reasons are less defined, but have to do with the fact that I can't pull myself away from my kids. I have been more aware than ever this summer that they are growing up, and, at the risk of sounding maudlin or melodramatic, this may be the last summer they want to hang out with me in the childlike way they do now.

My son, who we have home schooled for the last year and a half, has decided to return to public school for 6th grade. He's turned into a man-like creature this summer. We talk about things like "being cool" and "deodorant." He's significantly taller than me. He texts. He's going to get himself to school this year. This boy, who, until recently, was too anxious to leave the house, is ready to blaze a path. And this summer was the moment before he sets out.

My daughter is my son's opposite in many ways. Her tiny frame belies her incredible emotional depth and maturity. She may look like a wood sprite, but she's got this grounding and serenity that can leave me speechless. Her pace is different than many kids' her age...spending time with her requires slowing down to observe and listen. She is the embodiment of potential energy. While she is patient with my multitasking, I miss a lot with her that way, and, this summer, I didn't want to.

I always feel sheepish writing these posts, like I'm giving you excuses. Summer has traditionally been a time of productivity for me because I got so much done when we were all free from the lock-step routine of school. But this summer I just wanted to hang out. I wanted to just look at my kids, drink them in during this moment of change. Be there, eyes open.

As "professional bloggers" go, I'm a transparently weak multitasker. But there it is. I love this community, and am with you, reading comments and emails, tweeting and Facebooking. I'm not going anywhere, and have so, so much to tell you, and so many more hacks to share. THANK YOU, as always, for the steady stream of fantastic tips and for the time you spend with me. And for your understanding as I go drink a glass of lemonade on the front lawn during this last, delicious week of summer.

Me and my kids in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA

Lemonade photo credit: Flickr.com/Lara604

Your comments

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Enjoy the last days of your summer. Here in South Africa spring has officially begun after an unusually cold winter and we are looking forward to warmer days.

Don't feel bad for neglecting your blogging, your kids will remember the time you spend with them more than your readers will. We can always come back for new tips but you will never be able to get back days spend with them because you chose to take time to update your blog and losing out on their growth.

Your kids sounds lovely; I can picture them in my mind from your descriptions. Good luck to your son in his new "grown-up" ventures and treasure your daughter for her serenity and different outlook on life. Slow down with her and enjoy her view on life and hope that she does not lose it when she gets older.

I want to share this with you (I don't have a clue who was the creator of this lovely piece of advice) "Make memories today so that tomorrow you won't have to look back on empty yesterdays."

Go and enjoy another glass of lemonade with them. I can wait for your new post.

You have your priorities straight! Your explanations were a good reminder to savor every moment, even when my 2-year old twins make me want to pull out my hair. :)

Your comment choked me up, Elsie! Thank you so much.

I would love to visit South Africa some day soon. My husband is from Cape Town and we visited before my kids were born.

Recalling the toddler years (and I didn't have twins!), there seemed to be little time to slow down and breathe. Everything was SO immediate and intense! One of many parenting ironies: once you have a little more time to relax, you spend it wondering where the time went. Enjoy, enjoy, and thank you for taking the time to comment.

Asha, you know how I feel about this... I admire you so much for always having your family in focus first. I think it is a major testament to your strengths as a person and community builder to share so much with your community, but at a pace that works for you. You may not realize it, but I take a lot of cues from you and over the last few weeks in particular, have taken the pace at Boston Mamas down a bit to accommodate other things in my life. xoxo Christine

As you know, so much I could say in response! You'll hear it all (more than you ever wanted) in November. Thank you, C.

This is the message most of us miss. Our children (and grandchildren) disappear before our very eyes. If you blink, if you blog, you might just miss them. Well done you to have made a conscious decision to be, really be, with your kids.

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