It happens almost every year. I look forward to the slower, saner pace of summer. I put so much off that summer ends up being crammed full of “catching up” stuff; and if I don’t have catching up to do, I come up with new projects that keep me overly busy. And then, a couple of weeks into summer, I begin to panic, because the lovely orderly productive family days I’d dreamed of aren’t happening, and summer is slipping inexorably by.

At family meeting this week I apologized for being so grumpy and annoyed the previous night that I’d gone to bed without reading aloud. I’d complained about their lack of productivity and lack of help around the house. I’d told them how angry I was feeling about this stuff. And then I went to bed. I hate ending my kids’ days like that.

I told the kids about my summer dreams … of a sweet little homeschooling family reading together and doing projects together, and exploring and engaging in activities, all pulling their weight around the house, living a tidy co-operative existence with plenty of time for everything everyone wants to do and a comfortable rhythm to their days. Kids would say “hey mom, the laundry needed to come in off the line, so I did it.” Mom would say “anyone want to help me make a batch of muffins?” and the kids would excitedly bounce up and down begging to be the one to read out the recipe or break the eggs. Everyone would eat the fresh wholesome meals, and at supper time the family would laugh and talk and recount their favourite part of the day.

And I told them that because our summer wasn’t working out like that, I was dealing with my disappointment, and also my regret that my supposedly wide-open summer ‘holidays’ were feeling as busy and unproductive as those chaotic weeks in April and May.

The kids laughed and accepted my apology. And they understood where some of my frustration was coming from and promised to make an effort to help around the house a bit more. It’s particularly hard for all of us right now with the renovation still proceeding full-tilt. The last couple of days have been better. Noah and Erin are making an effort, and Sophie at least managed to practice today.

We are still eating at the dining room table in the family room. The living room is still filled with a couple of dozen boxes of kitchen stuff so that there’s barely a path to the bathroom and the piano. And we’re still doing dishes on the deck with a garden hose. But things are coming along. We moved the range in a couple of days ago. Today we got enough cabinets installed to add a temporary countertop along one wall.

Here is a photo that really show how far things have come. This is looking down the small side of the “L” towards the pantry we’ve framed in at the end of the kitchen. This is where we started installing the cabinets, so things look pretty finished here. We still don’t have a fridge or sink, and the whole other wall is still empty. But this photo is inspiring us to keep plugging away.

Summer panic

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