We would take 5 vacations, at least one of them would be a cruise, a camping trip or two, visit some national parks, a trip to see our friends, and spend lots of time as a family just enjoying each other's company and making all kinds of happy memories.
I knew that at the end of summer vacation, our world would drastically change. Nicole would be leaving us for college, probably never to live under our roof full time again, and I would be heading back to school, full time, until Summer rolled around again.
As the first week of Summer approached, we had ONE vacation planned. This brought a slight panic to my heart because I know us well- if it's not planned in advance, it probably isn't going to happen.
As things turned out, Erik had a few business (or hemophilia related) trips that needed to be taken (San Francisco, Las Vegas, Oklahoma), and it was decided that it was now or never to take his dad to Norway- something that Erik has wanted to do for a long time. There was Hemophilia camp that would take 3 members of the family for a week, a scout camp for Isaac, a 6 day trip to Bear Lake for Nicole with friends from Student Government, and an Ambassador retreat for her to meet her new college friends and finally, youth conference for Isaac.
And then to top it all off, we decided to sign up Ian for football. Something that would completely suck what was left of our Summer right out from under us.
There is now exactly two weeks of Summer Vacation left and as I was laying in bed this morning thinking about how different this Summer ended up from what I was hoping it would, I was surprised that I didn't feel disappointed.
True, I spent most of those weeks without one or more family members with me, and true we only went on one family vacation, but looking back, it was such a wonderful time for me to slow down, get things organized around the house, spend some one on one time with each of the kids, and even a run away with Erik. We didn't make tons of 'family time' memories, but so many special memories were made that will carry me through until next Summer.
I feel so fortunate to have been the one who got to be with Ian during the first time that he got to play tackle football. I was the first to see him in full gear and was the one who heard, "Mom, thank you SO MUCH for signing me up for football!" And that smile, oh that smile, when he runs to the sideline all sweaty, to get a drink. I got to be the first to see that.
I was so lucky to get to sit by Nicole's side as she organized and held a clothes sale to raise money for college and then got to be the one to take many shopping trips with her to help her spend that money as she bought items to furnish her dorm. I also got to be the one to hear all the stories after her dates with good friends and guys that made her excited about the possibility of marriage some day.
I got to be the one to pack Isaac for scout camp- making sure he had everything from a fishing pole and sunscreen to underwear and a warm jacket. And I got to be the first to hear all of the stories when he got home- oh man those scouts!- and to hear about the new friend he made. And I got to be the one who watched him grow right before my eyes. I swear he did!
I was the one who got to be here everyday when Erik face-timed me from Norway. I got to "see" little bits of Oslow and Bergen through the small camera on his iPad. I was the first to see the tired joy on his dad's face as he enthusiastically talked about "tromping" through the streets of Norway.
I was the one who got to wash all of their dirty clothes when they retuned from all of their fun trips and activities. I could tell that the dirtier the clothes were, the more fun they had had- and that made me smile.
I was given the time to redecorate rooms in my home, clean out some dusty corners that haven't been touched in a LONG time, and dejunk. I even had enough glorious time to read 5 books!
It wasn't the Summer I had envisioned. But I think it turned out exactly as it should have. I got to be here. I got to be in my home. I got to be with my family. I got to be present.
Those memories will carry me through the next year and will bring a smile to my face when I'll need one most.
It was a Summer I'll cherish forever!