Here is the one and only thing your teenager needs from you this summer

This is my fourteenth summer with him.

You’ve seen the graphics on social media. The one of a picture of a mother and child, sitting on a beach, with the words “you have eighteen summers with your children. spend them wisely” written across the top of a lovely sunset scene.

So, this is number fourteen for me, with him. And, according to that mother’s warning on that sunset picture, I have exactly four summers left.

That puts a lot of pressure on a momma, you know?!

What exactly does one do with her child, when she only has four summers left with him? How does one even choose to spend that time?

I layed in bed this last week and thought about that question (obsessed over that question would be more accurate, perhaps.)

Will we spend it hiking? swimming? adventuring? eating new foods? experiencing new places?

As if that wasn’t enough, my mind also went to other places (because that’s what happens when you go down a rabbit hole at 2am, of course).

I want to be the one to take it all in with him. Every moment. Every laughter. Every new experience.

But what will he even want to do with me, his momma, in this, our fourteenth summer together? Will his teenage self even want to hang out with me? Go adventuring with me? Exploring with me? Or will the posse of teenage friends win out? Will they get to be the ones to spend his fourteenth summer with him?

I mean, didn’t they see the picture?! Don’t they know that I only have four left?!

I want to be the one to take it all in with him. Every moment. Every laughter. Every new experience.

Then, all of a sudden, this rabbit hole of the trials and tribulations of our fourteenth summer together leads me to one thing: My fourteenth summer. My fourteenth summer with my mom. With my dad. With my two little sisters.

And want to know what I remember from my fourteenth summer? The only thing I can remember from my fourteenth summer with them?

Love. I can remember love.

That’s it. Not the exact adventures. Not the fine details. Not what we ate, not where we traveled.

I can remember love.

So, out of the rabbit hole of 2am thoughts I climb. I dove in a distraught mother, and am proudly walking out a mother full of intention. Intent on how she wants to spend this, the fourteenth summer with her boy.

She will spend this summer loving him. That’s it. Simple as that.

Sure, there will still be adventures … experiences … new food to eat … new places to explore.

But all of that will just be a bonus, really. A bonus to the love that will surround him daily. A bonus to the prayers that will be said for him daily. A bonus to the security that this, his home, will be for him daily.

So, mommas (and daddies, too), let’s band together and do that, shall we? Whether you are in your third summer with your child, your ninth summer with your child … maybe your first summer, as you cradle that newborn baby in your arms, or even your last summer, as you watch that eighteen-year-old child of yours preparing himself or herself to spread those wings (the same wings that you’ve spent so many seasons curating).

Let’s just spend this summer loving them.

If nothing else, it’ll ease some of the pressure of the holiday bucket list, and allow us to focus on the one thing that our little hearts want (and need) more than any grand summer adventure:

And that would be our love.