Hello Stranger! Summertime is Sibling Time

Sometimes when making small talk, I go along and feign my distaste at our scorching Houston summers. I actually love the summer, but it’s fun to have a common enemy, especially one so blistering and relentless.  I always feel somewhat guilty afterwards for betraying my favorite season. That’s right, HELL is my favorite season.

Hello Stranger! Summertime is Sibling Time | Houston Moms BlogSummertime Brings Good Times

When the mercury starts to rise {and rise and rise}, I know summer break is around the corner. Good times are ahead! We don’t have to wake up early, worry about getting to school on time, make lunches {help me Jesus}, or keep up with homework assignments. We can swim all day if we want, be spontaneous, and make last minute plans with friends. I can spend more time on home projects because my day is not interrupted by chauffeuring duties.

Summer also brings the chance for my kids to try out some new or favorite activities like Pinecove Camp in the CityCreative Writing Camp, or Musical Theater Camp {our favorite so far is TUTS Theater Under the Stars}. This year though, my eldest adamantly refused to attend TUTS, and not because he’s not much of a thespian. He likes music and movement enough to enjoy it; he just didn’t want to go now that he’s too old to be in the same group as his younger sister. 

Hello Stranger! Summertime is Sibling Time | Houston Moms Blog
A Respite from the Frenzy

I realized that the kids don’t get to do a lot of activities together during the school year. Summer is their chance to enjoy fun experiences with each other. My older son plays basketball in the winter and little league baseball in the spring. Baseball, which can have up to four touches a week during the season, keeps our family apart many evenings, much to my dismay. My daughter takes dance class on the weekends and often her class and her brother’s sport commitments coincide so the family needs to split up on Saturdays to accommodate. 

My BFF {Brother For Life}

I had a completely different childhood. No activities and no summer camps. My brother and I spent all our non-school time together, much of it alone, so we were very close growing up. I even followed him to two different cities after I graduated from high school. Unfortunately, we live in different parts of the country now, but I still text him almost every day. There are always crucial bits of information I need to share with him, some that he apparently deems too trivial to respond to while he’s “busy at work, can’t talk.” {Well, I would make time to talk if MY sibling’s local grocery store suddenly started carrying a novel new snack. Just saying.}

I want my children to enjoy the same sense of friendship with each other so I am very intentional about our family schedule. Quality time together is a piece of the relational equation and summer affords us a whole lot more time. I am often frustrated at how hectic our schedule gets during the school year. 

Hello Stranger! Summertime is Sibling Time | Houston Moms Blog

Priorities :: Squeezing Out Every Minute

I don’t want us to be strangers, so how do we find balance for ourselves and our children in a hyper-scheduled world? Our family tries to “live locally” as much as possible. We are involved in our local community church, the older kids are enrolled at our local public school, and the youngest one attends a local Mother’s Day Out. Saving travel time helps us all make time for other commitments.

We evaluate extracurricular activities not necessarily based on the strength of the programs, but on their location. We have even arranged piano lessons and Chinese language class to take place in our home. Everyone always talks about how these family years pass by in a flash. I don’t want to spend any more time than necessary shuttling kids around. Plus, living this way has spared our three-year-old from wasting away in his car seat, which is often the unfortunate lot of many younger siblings. 

Even the Baby 

Summer is heaven for the baby of the house. Our three-year-old loves having his family around. One evening last week while I was away, my husband took the two older kids biking. When the little one awoke from his nap to find the house empty except for grandpa {his babysitter}, he was inconsolable. Grandpa assured him his siblings were only biking in the neighborhood. The little guy insisted that his grandfather take him outside to find them. After walking two long, hot, and tiring blocks in search of them, my dad suggested they turn back. He doggedly replied “No, I have to keep going or I will never see my family again!” Who can blame him for not wanting to give up on his brother and sister? They are his best friends.

Call On Me Brother {and Sister}, When You Need A Friend

So, every year when the school year winds down and all of Houston starts to protest the coming heat, I will secretly be looking forward to the season when sibling time reigns supreme. The kids will bicker for sure, but I will remind myself how sweet these days will look in the rear view mirror of life. They will ask for sleepovers in each other’s rooms on weeknights and I will agree to them. I’ll ignore the books, puzzles, and toys littering the play room as they rediscover forgotten treasures together. I will pretend that I don’t hear them planning shenanigans while they navigate afternoons that stretch deliciously before them.

I want to give them a childhood brimming with fond memories with each other. Shared memories are the ties that will bind them together under the threat of time and distance. While I have them together, I will try my best to give them the gift of quality time so that one day they can send asinine group texts to each other {or telepathic telegrams or whatever}. Maybe they’ll even include me in them. Maybe not. But I’ll be happy just the same that something wonderful came out of all those long searing summer days.

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Vicky grew up in Miami, graduated from Boston University, and moved to New York City to work in advertising. She and her husband then had a marvelous adventure abroad, which included the birth of their older son. After almost four years in Beijing, they headed to her husband's hometown of Houston. Their daughter made her debut a few months later and their younger son joined the ranks several years after that. Vicky loves family life and all the adventures, laughs, and lessons that come with it. Though busy raising three kids, she tries to sneak time to tend to her tiny urban garden and come up with ideas to continually make her home a haven. Vicky has been slightly obsessed with raising monarch butterflies in recent years. She’s a writer and communications consultant who dreams of days where she can simply sit by the pool reading a book and drinking lemonade.



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