Summers are changing and this summer seems to have been filled more with excited goodbyes and anticipated returns.
It's made the summer fly in some ways as we skitter to pack and shuffle folks off.
It's made the summer drag in some ways as I miss their daily presence and await their stories of adventure.
All the time I think on that future point where they'll all be headed out on a more permanent basis.
Then I try really hard to remember something I heard once about smart parents doing everything they can to prepare their children to survive expertly as independents from the home.
And so, they've come and gone pretty constantly around here in what I consider a transition to a more lasting flight from my nest. And I do get a little thrill to see them thrive in the experience.
Just days after school finals, Celia caught a flight to Provo, Utah for a week on BYU campus for Especially For Youth.
One piece of advice I gave her before boarding was to shut off her phone and just be in the moment ... at least after she'd assured me she'd gotten where she needed to be safely :)
Once Celia hit campus this is all I heard from her before she went silent for a week:
And that was it. Off the grid until the following Sunday morning when she flew home just in time for Newel to snag her at the airport and meet us at church.
Between meetings, I hugged her hard and she exclaimed she had so many stories to tell but first she needed me to fill out her Youth Conference forms before she headed to her sunday school class.
Pregnant hormonal mom teared up over her shoulder. Couldn't help it. Her confidence was brimming and she was already on to the next thing. And then I waited all afternoon to lay on the bed and hang on every word.
A day later, laundry was washed and repacked and ward youth conference took her off again. This time, she left the phone behind and I had to wait a week for any news.
It was worth the wait. Then of course, we squeezed in that family time for ourselves before events facing us this week. Newel was off to Germany for business on Saturday and scrambling to help everyone prep for Monday's flood of camps.
6:00 Monday morning, Christian left for the week long scout canoe trip across Wyoming into Utah.
That boy leaves me laughing. I've never seen anyone get "excitement" sickness before every anticipated event.
Every christmas morning, every campout, every trip to six flags / water park / go cart racing ... you name it. Just minutes before leaving, he caves into stomach cramps and hot flashes of anticipation. It's just .. that .. exciting.
I should know by now to budget in an extra twenty minutes just for the crash and burn!
Monday was no different. He got up. He showered. He loaded his stuff in the car. He assured me he was good. And then he lay over his fried eggs and toast, gray as a ghost and hypervenalating.
I loaded him in the car anyway and as we drove, he calmed, felt better, laughed at himself, and told me he'd best not grow up to be a rock star or FBI agent whilst giving me a hilarious rendition of stalling a sting operation so he could take a moment to vomit on the floor. Accounting ... he said ... he'd better stick with accounting.
Love that boy.
Love his humor.
Love that once we pulled into the parking lot, his friends flooded him like a champion and he still turned to hug me right in front of them and whisper in my ear not to have a baby while he was gone because that was one excitement he didn't want to miss.
Tuesday 6:00 am. Celia off on the Girl's Camp 4th year backpack trip. Again, rearin' to go.
But maybe the most excited of the bunch was Annie and her first year to Girl's Camp.
"Did I ever look that small, Mom?" Celia asked me. Yeah, she did. I think they all do. It's experiences like these that change them into confident young women.
Just like that, she was off with friends never looking back. But that t-shirt she spent the weekend making says everything there is to say about her. I stood aside watching her go and could see her inner beauty shinning forth.
It's been a quiet-er week with just the three littlest who are most content to build a lego city on the living room floor and balk at my efforts to revisit those former days of mom-produced fun-filled activity.
And just because I'm sappy right now, (and feeling like lately I've been introverted into my own pregnant unpleasantries putting heavier burdens on big kids who were probably just thrilled to be shed of me for the week) ... I couldn't send those big ones away without a note neatly tucked into each pack telling them how much they mean to me as I watch them grow and become who they are meant to be.