Going at Life with Eyes Wide Open

Momservation: Summer coming to an end is like getting water up your nose after the perfect cannon ball.

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OMG! This was, like, the BEST summer EVERRRRR!

Okay, sorry about that. I vowed to live this summer with my kids carefree and full-tilt like a 12-year old. Mission, like, so totally accomplished! I’ll SnapChat you my selfies!

Wow…harder than I thought to get back in working-mom mode.

School starts in two days, and for the first time ever I’m actually sad that summer’s coming to an end. Normally, I’m giddy like a kid on Christmas to get my kids out from underfoot, back to productive days without the background bickering, unleashed from nearly three months of trying to keep kids entertained. I will not confirm nor deny that I may have sent a thank you fruit basket to the San Juan school district.

But this summer I had good fortune and a change in perspective collide. I was able to put on hold my major writing commitments and I realized that I only had a few summers left with my kids. At 12 and 13 years old, the majority of the time I have to spend with my kids constantly with me has passed. Not only will they be heading off to college in five years, but as friends become more encompassing, I probably won’t be seeing them for much of the summers that are left.

*Ouch* Hang on a second while my heart gets over its panic attack…

So I recognized time was running out to take advantage of and appreciate the gift that comes with having kids: slowing down and reliving the joy and excitement of summer vacation and the endless possibilities it promises.

Plus, I just really like these kids of mine—they’re fun to play with!

On our Slurpee run on 7/11 free Slurpee day at 7-Eleven

On our Slurpee run on 7/11 free Slurpee day at 7-Eleven

So when that last bell rang in June, we hit the ground running on the Summer of Living Like a 12 year-old. We stayed up late and slept in late. We went to restaurants and started with dessert. We woke up without a plan and let the day have its way with us. We went to every 7-Eleven we could think of on free Slurpee day. We instituted Fun Wednesdays and invited our friends to join us at places like Raging Waters water park, SurfXtreme indoor surfing, Lazer X Fire Til U Tire lazer tag, Country Club Lanes bowling, Folsom Aquatic Center water park, Golfland Sunsplash miniature golfing, Sky High indoor trampolines, and the State Fair.

We had endless hours of swimming and playing with friends, we went houseboating with family, camping with friends, had a big party for Daddy, and said “yes” to every opportunity.

For two months and ten days we lived in the moment and it was glorious.

But now it’s back to responsibilities of work and school and like a 12 year-old kid, I just don’t want summer to end.

We’ll take it to the wire here—probably use that Raging Waters season pass one last time the day before school starts. But I did one last magical thing last night by myself to commemorate a summer well-spent.

I set my alarm and got up at 1:30 a.m. to see the last night of the Perseid meteor shower.

I almost didn’t get up for this annual August shooting star show and ritual—I knew it would be hard to top last year’s experience of witnessing it over an alpine lake with two dozen of our camping friends, lying on our backs under a brilliant canopy of stars, oohing and ahhing over the exciting flashes of light streaking across the sky every few minutes.

I bundled up and slipped outside, deciding against trying to cajole my sleepy family to join me since I didn’t plan on being out long.

Nearly 15 minutes passed as I laid on my back in our backyard scanning the light-polluted sky, beginning to despair that conditions weren’t right for me to witness this amazing light show and growing concerned I was more likely to get skunked.

And then I saw one. I brilliant streak of light across the night sky so beautiful and amazing you feel fortunate and breathless to have seen it. Over the next hour I saw nearly a dozen, the city lights affording views of only the most brilliant meteors—but worth the wait for them. And instead of worrying about getting skunked, I suddenly became more aware of the beautiful sonnet of chirping crickets, the quiet rustle of leaves from a gentle breeze, the smell of dewy grass, and the comforting damp warmth of an early morning summer day.

When I climbed back into bed Hubby groggily asked me, “Was it hard to keep your eyes open?”

“No,” I told him. “You’re afraid to close your eyes because you don’t want to miss a thing.”

And in that moment, in the after-glow of my wonderful summer with my kids, I realized viewing the Perseid meteors shower was a perfect metaphor for getting the most out of life: With your eyes wide open (perspective), you won’t miss a thing.

Perseid Meteor Shower Metaphor for Life

  • Once your eyes adjust you see things that take your breath away
  • The flashes of brilliance are worth waiting for
  • Keep scanning the horizon because you never know where that next opportunity will pop up
  • The brightest moments are brilliant, but it’s collection of smaller moments that make it why you’re out here in the first place
  • Don’t give up, don’t stop believing that something wonderful can happen if you’re patient
  • The quiet moments in between waiting for something good to happen make you appreciate the things you miss every day
  • Slowing down to just look up at the sky keeps things in perspective
  • When the world is still your senses come alive and you appreciate the little things
  • If you wait for conditions to be right you will miss something wonderful that will happen with or without you
  • Making time to experience something fleeting makes you feel fortunate for being a part of something so spectacular
  • God’s creation is boundless and amazing

You don’t have to be able to take a summer off to enjoy your family. You don’t have to have the money to spend for extracurricular activities. You don’t have to drop everything to make your kids feel special. It’s not the quantity of time, but the quality of it.

And if you feel like this summer was a missed opportunity to embrace living in the moment, it’s never too late to employ the philosophy.

Just go at life with your eyes wide open.


    • kellimwheeler says:

      It’s a message I can’t deliver enough, Chase. And you know us Wheelers – we like to do things full-tilt. Kinda like people who decide to have 4 kids…;) Good to hear from you.

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