The Mid-Summer Slump

It’s the middle of the summer. The house is a dump. The kids have devolved into something resembling several chapters from the worst part of Lord of the Flies, and I sit here in the floor, like Piggy holding the conch, fighting a losing battle to maintain some sort of order in the chaos but steadily marching toward my own destruction at the hands of these three lawless heathens.

For the most part, we have stopped bathing and rely on the chlorine in the pool to destroy our summertime funk. We no longer prepare meals; we just scavenge for whatever we can find, subsisting mostly on snacks and things that don’t require modern conveniences like electricity or gas or time to prepare. My Summer Bucket List of fun things to do together lies crumpled in the corner of the playroom, covered in crayon Star Wars characters and something sticky that resembles boogers. I have one nerve left, and it feels like my 10 year old is jumping on it … wearing cleats. I’ve stopped bothering to referee, resorting to non-verbal applications of “the look” and “natural consequences” {aka lazy parenting}.

This is the mid-summer slump, and we are neck-deep in it.

We are only halfway there.

While there are moments of light when I feel like the remaining weeks can still be redeemed, they usually fizzle and fade as I run out of coffee … or wine, depending on the time of day.

Images of my Pinterest-worthy plans, my careful scheduling of intermittent camps to allow for the perfect balance of alone-time with Mommy for each of them and together-time as a group, and the intentional spacing of beach days and zoo days and museum days, all include three smiling children wallowing in togetherness, forming bonds that will last them a lifetime.

We are predestined to fall short of those images; it is in our very nature.

Yet, every summer, I hold up that standard again with the expectation that if we all just cooperate, our summer will look that way. If we can all just get along, keep the house in order, follow The Plan, and keep from falling off the wagon, that perfect summer will be ours.

And every summer we fail.

And as I sit in the middle of the mess, surrounded by half-eaten bags of goldfish crackers, discarded sippy cups, and an entire box of baby wipes that have been systematically extracted from their container and thrown about the living room waiting to be shredded by a fluffy white terror of a puppy, I realize … I think I’m okay with that.

Failures we are, and failures we will forever be. But we are all failures together.

And that’s the best part of summer … knowing that while we are far from my vision of the ideal, we are in this mess together. And that’s the best place we can be.

With a little bit of love and a whole lot of grace, we just might make it through these next few weeks.

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