Children running barefoot through soft grass or squishing their toes in wet sand.
Frosty glasses of sweet tea or lemonade surrounded by a pool of condensation while we stretch out to soak up the sun.
The steady roar of lawn mowers or motorcycles or cardboard taped to the spokes of a bicycle wheel.
That wonderful feeling of true relaxation and sweet love serenaded by singing birds and lilting breezes.
There is a summer monster. It's just as big and ferocious as any Christmas monster. It's teeth are ugly and will ruin any child's dream. It's stench will take your breath away and will keep you feeling sick until the Christmas monster arrives. What is this awful thing? How will it destroy the wonderful summer you have planned?
We can be attacked by the Monster of disappointment anytime we forget that special moments just happen.
Special moments come because we allow them to come not because we "orchestrate" them.
Our country has become obsessed with "production". We want to produce more work, more product, a better home, a better company......push... push... push.......rush...rush....rush....always be better than you were yesterday. How are you going to top this has become a national slogan. And parents have the mistaken idea that the summer can only be fun if they top last summer's monster ridden plans.
In all that planning and orchestration we lose moments. We rush to "make" a memory and forget that most wonderful memories aren't of something we planned, but rather are a by-product of the event. For example, have you ever been at a theme park and taken a moment to watch the smiles of your children? Was it the theme park that generated your special moment? Or was it the simple joy of watching your child smile?
The monsters of summer steal our happiness when we forget the real purpose of rest and relaxation. It's not what we are doing at the time - it's who we are with and whether or not we stop and see the beauty of who they are. I always feel sorry for those families who go through summer with the attitude of "we are going to have fun whether you like it or not!" I've watched Dads dragging children across a beach or Moms spanking them at a theme park.
Hello - it's not your job to orchestrate the fun! You can't do that! Everyone loses to the monster of summer. You feel frustrated, your children sense that and everything blows up in your face.
So what can you do? My prescription for killing those monsters is to plan less and enjoy more. Plan more days in the backyard waving to your neighbor and watching your children run through the sprinkler. Plan more days of making homemade ice cream or playing croquet (remember that game?). Plan one big trip if you want, but go one day less. Spend that first day at home sleeping and resting before the big trip so everyone is ready to have fun. And remember to see less of the park or the resort or the town and enjoy the experience. When you are 80 and the children are grown no one will be upset that you didn't ride all the rides. They will only remember the laughter, the fun and that you killed all the summer monsters.
God loves you,