Nine summers ago, I was pregnant for the first time, sick as a dog, and struggling to show up at my full-time job everyday. When Ellis was born the following March, I had six weeks off before I had to return to work for what was the beginning of years of working outside jobs while being a mama. With Charlie, it was a little better - three months maternity leave, a good year where I only worked three days a week. Sometimes I got a great deal of satisfaction out of my work, sometimes I definitely did not, but I can honestly say that I never felt like I had enough time with my kids.
This summer, it has been a gift to just put in a lot of time with the boys. Sometimes they drove me nuts (especially the tired old sibling rivalry routine), but mostly I just liked being around them without the clock ticking or being en route to some scheduled activity. What I wanted was just a short period of time where the outside world had very little influence on my relationship with my children. I wanted us to have some breathing space to get to know each other in a way that only comes from spending most of the day everyday together.
I am grateful for the simple ability to just be here.