It’s fun to scroll the Facebook feed for photos of families on vacation.
I absolutely L-O-V-E seeing parents and kids being themselves and having fun together. Since I’m a youth pastor, I geek out when pictures of teens with their parents on vacation.
It’s almost like everyone becomes a kid again. For a minute or two, your teens see you for you, not as the parent making sure the homework is done. They see past the argument you had about curfew. They forget that they are learning to be independent and accidentally-on-purpose curl up with you on the couch for a family movie marathon.
These are the moments moms and dads live for.
These are the moments that we wish we could have more often.
These are also the moments that make us feel sad, grumpy, teary when we have to go home at the end of a summer break or a vacation.
Because now, we have to face the other reality of life, the one with distractions, piles of dishes, and smelly gym bags.
It’s back to . . .
the learning curve. (I was thinking of yours, but it’s fair to say that your kids are on one too.)
I read a book once a year called A Gift From the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. In one chapter she talks about the impossibility of the pure relationship.
She explains that we can never go back to how we felt when we fell in love. We can remember it, but we can’t go back. And the same is true with our kids and our teens. We can never go back to those moments when they were five. But we will always have them as memories.
These are memories that should be celebrated, but we can’t get stuck there, in fear or in frustration, trying to relive them or hold on to them after they have passed.
Parents should give space for each moment to become a cherished memory. All of them. The good ones and the gunked-up ones. The ones we wish we could revisit, relive, revive, and the ones we wish we could un-remember, un-see, undo.
When our kids become teenagers, it becomes a whole new game. It’s called the “I’m growing up and I’m changing, and I’m not even sure if I like you right now but I’ll always love you if you give me what I want—but I’m just kidding, I really don’t want to be like that—can I have $20?” game.
When you feel the tension in a challenging parenting stage, remember, you have the ability to decide to make the most of the time you have with your kids today.
It may not look or feel like it did a few weeks ago when you were hugging a Sycamore tree in California together or hunched over the sand getting sunburned in your search for sea shells. But as you step out of the carefree days of summer and into the busy routine of fall, focus on the memories you can make with your kids this week. Decide to live every moment to it’s fullest and create new ways to be together every day.
Brooklyn has been a youth pastor since 2001. She has authored numerous books and projects, and is a youth pastor at Highland Park Church of the Nazarene, her first priority. Second she is a speaker who loves teaching from the Bible, and leading people to live in response to God’s love. Brooklyn, while named after a city in New York, lives in the sunshine state with her husband, Coy, and their sweet girls, Kirra and Mya.