A letter to myself on the first day of summer

Photo by Aleksandr Eremin on Unsplash

Dear Joanna,

Summer is here! You finally finished the most insane school year you never thought your children or yourself would or could experience. Your kids are home, they are healthy, they are safe. The start to this season feels like the biggest sigh of relief and rush of fresh air.

You have a whole host of plans and dreams for the months ahead.

Lazy days, busy days.

Pool days, beach days.

Camps, crafts, connection.

Any and all of it, you are planned and ready to have FUN. You are ready to enjoy your kids and make some memories. You are ready to move on from the shock of last summer.

And yet, there are some creeping feelings of anxiety. Remembering those days last summer and how suffocating it could feel being at home…all the time…with everyone…with no options…no place to go. The burn out, the guilt, the mental exhaustion. It’s still a part of you. Those were really hard days and they have left a mark.

Take time.

Recognize those feelings. 

Acknowledge them. 

See your past self.

But don’t live in those feelings because that was the reality of last summer. Don’t let your anxiety color days that have yet to happen. This summer will be different. It is ok to hold onto hope because you have been able to experience that this spring.

So, have FUN this summer. Enjoy life and recognize the goodness that you weren’t able to see last summer. Schedule little things just for you, find pockets of the day just for you, that is ok and the pandemic has shown you that you NEED those moments not that they are a treat. Your kids are so excited and the days ahead are going to be full and fun and good. There will also be long, boring, and hard days but that is ok. Recognizing the balance is healthy and you need to make time to do that.

I hope this summer is good for you. I hope it’s healing. I really hope that you find some of yourself again in the days ahead. I hope you get some time to think and dream and wonder. 

Girl, you’ve got this. 



The Pause

Tonight a mother laid out her child’s first day of school outfit. The clothes that have been hanging in a closet patiently waiting to adorn an excited little body. Ready for the new and unexpected energy a fresh school year brings. That mom is packing a lunch, writing a note, saying a prayer that her child has a beautiful first day and that the after school crash isn’t too dramatic. She’s lining up backpacks and turning out the lights. Pausing for a moment before heading to bed and thinking about how different tomorrow will feel. The energy of the house slows down in preparation for the chaos and spilled cheerios the morning will surely bring.

This Pause holds so much more than a few hours of sleep and dreams of new friends and fresh school supplies. A seven month long Pause that contained more life lessons than could be taught in a school year. It’s been a Pause to help each other and learn. 

Slowly and hesitantly we peek from behind the Pause. How do we even do this anymore? How does this world work now? Nobody truly knows. Best and honest efforts are all that can be offered after such a Pause. Nostalgia starts to creep in even before the morning dawns, there was comfort and safety in that Pause. Morning walks and snack time, lazy days and self reflection. A time that cannot be replicated and a time that will be talked about for years to come. 

Tomorrow an alarm clock will sound before the sun, a mother will wake up and shuffle to the kitchen. She will barely have time to pour her coffee before a tiny body enters the kitchen, undoubtedly knocking over a bowl of cheerios and offering a sweet smile in remorse. She doesn’t even need her coffee anymore because the room is filled with the energy that can only be found on the first day of school. But deep inside she wonders, is it really all going to be ok?

Dinosaur clad mask covering a nervous smile and a lunch box filled with more love than they’ll ever know cautiously and excitedly climbing up unfamiliar steps. Who knows what these days will look like, we are all learning together from, for, and with each other.  With that perspective in mind, it’s possible that we really are going to be ok.