what are parenting fails and can they signal success

SUMMER WITH THE KIDS – FIRST TIME IN 9 YEARS!

Let me say that again – This will be the first summer in 9 years that our kids will be home.

The question that often comes next when I say this is, “Oh, do they usually spend it with another parent?” NO! David and I are their parents, but we have spent the summers alone while our twins have spent 7 years at sleep away camp in New York and the past 2 years traveling the world.

So, why will they be home this summer? Because we asked them to – plain and simple.

They will be wrapping up their first year in college in a few weeks – I’ll be attending graduation before I know it – and because of how they were raised, we know this will most likely be our last opportunity to spend this type of family time together. Chances are, after this summer, they will take on more travel and/or summer internships.

While they are not exactly thrilled they’ll be spending the summer in Omaha, they seem genuinely happy to be coming home. We didn’t tell them they HAD to come to Omaha, but we asked them to consider being with us and they agreed without much fuss. I can’t believe I can say these words – THIS SUMMER THEY ARE OURS!

So, I started thinking about what will be different having them home and here’s what I decided…

FAMILY DYNAMICS

While the twins have always acted quite responsibly and have earned our trust, they have still been kids. Now, they have been living on their own all year at school and have a life beyond us. Imagine that…They are coming back to us as young adults and NOT kids anymore, which means our family dynamics are in for a change. How we interact as a family will undoubtedly be different and an ongoing process. What will be difficult for me as a mom is to step back from being too controlling and allow them to have their space and us to have ours.

My twins enjoying a quick bite at the kitchen counter.

My twins enjoying a quick bite at the kitchen counter.

MY KITCHEN

I am so excited at just the thought of being able to bake, cook, and make bread for a family and not just the two of us! This is one activity I do that fulfills me as a person and just makes me smile. Nothing more to say here!

Enjoying some alone time with my hubby.

Enjoying some alone time with my hubby.

OUR RELATIONSHIP AS A COUPLE

This is no lie! Over winter break, the twins were home together, but both had solo time, too. Our son came home 10 days before our daughter and then our daughter had 3 additional weeks after our son headed back to school. Once Sam left and Sydney headed down to Austin for a few days to visit friends, when the two of us sat down for dinner without them there, we were a little like – wow, this is nice to be alone. This realization kind of surprised both of us…

Don’t get me wrong, we love having the twins with us, but after so many years of David commuting and us being apart, it was sort of nice to be alone again. We have promised each other that this summer, we will dedicate couple time, go to dinner together, and hang out like we do now. One of the biggest mistakes I think people make is not talking about the hard stuff or the stuff that makes us uncomfortable.

MY ALONE TIME

For the past 9 years, my summer has been my alone time. The kids were away and during the week, my hubby commuted, so I had this wonderful alone time. This was just our life and I became used to it. Now, even though hubby and I are together all week, I still have big chunks of alone time. But, with the twins home and hubby not commuting, I will either have to carve out a few hours a week of time for myself or plan a solo trip for the fall. I know myself and I know I need this time. I need to be without those I care for and take care of myself. I have always had a problem taking care of others too much and neglecting my needs, but am getting better.

WHAT WE’LL DO

Well, so far, David has signed the family up for a local rock climbing gym. Yes, a rock climbing gym! Sydney loves rock climbing and like her father, joined the rock climbing club at college. (I promise I’m not making that up). Most of you don’t know this, but when the twins were little, David built a rock wall in our basement for the twins. (Again, not making this up).

The twins enjoying their travel together.

The twins enjoying their travel together.

We will also travel. The twins arrive home the first week in May. We will leave as a family a week later for Ironman Texas to support David in his first full-distance race since being hit by that drink driver. A few weeks later, we will head to Sedona to just be; just the four of us away from everything. It has always been one of our favorite things to do; walk, talk, play board games, and just chill. Sydney and I will then travel together and David and Sam will take on part of the Appalachian Trail.

More to come…We are not great on planning too far out…

Who else out there has college kids coming home for the summer? What will you do as a family?

I am a home cook that does things my way. In my kitchen, I make breakfast, pack lunches, prepare snacks, and cook dinner. During the week, we eat real food that is homemade, organic, and local. On the weekends we do explore more of our local restaurants. I bake my own bread, juice fresh oranges every other day, and make my own kombucha and other weekly favorites.