The Lost Summer
Every year, we wait eight long months in the Great Northern States for the beautiful blessing of
summer. Day dreams from dismal, dreary winter days include bike rides, farmers’ markets,
pool days, and wine on the patio (of course!).
This year our summer so far has included packing and un-packing boxes, tearful goodbyes,
living with our parents, and all the emotions that accompany a move to a new city. We started
summer with a bang when we moved the day after school ended! We stepped into the
unknown of a whole new life…with all our belongings on a truck and our hearts a bruised from
We moved just 70 miles from the smallish Wisconsin town where our children (ages 8, 7, and 4
years) were all born, to a nice suburb of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. The move wasn’t far in
distance, but it feels like a lifetime away as summer settles in for our family of five.
We labored over the decision to move. We wondered if we would damage the kids by pulling
them out of their bubble and into a totally new and very different life. We debated and we
worried about the kids. Before the big move, a friend told my husband that the move will be
healthy for our kids. He said if its hard for the kids, that will be a life experience that will shape
them and grow their character. I was so comforted by those words. I knew we could do it and
the kids would fare well, even with some difficult times.
Well, the kids have done pretty great. They surprised us and transitioned smoothly…even
gracefully, to life in a new house, with new neighbors, and unfamiliar surroundings. The
surprise is that I’m the one who has struggled the most.
I haven’t done moving gracefully. Looking back, I remember hearing that “moving can be
hardest on the mom”. Of course, I knew that I was strong enough not to be shaken by the
move. Silly me. I realize how sheltered I was in our previous home and city. I felt like life was
so perfectly manageable…comfortable…even, easy within the small town I’d lived for 10 years.
I knew all the ins-and outs of which routes to drive, which hot-spots to hit (with kids or
without!), and some of the best hidden gems.
Now, here we are with no summer activities for our active brood, a semi-unpacked house, and
limited friends to distract us from ongoing sibling fights. I feel so exposed. I feel so inadequate.
I’m struggling. Hard.
The insecurities are out, my friends. I’m suddenly keenly aware of my weaknesses:
“Why isn’t my house pinterest-worthy…we’ve lived here almost 4 weeks!”
“Why can’t I just control my emotions and get it together?”
“Why are my kids so disobedient…I’m such a bad mom.”
“Why can’t I figure out how to work this *&!# stove?! I’m way out of my league!”
I worried so intensely about transitioning my kids that I forgot to give myself the chance to
transition. I thought so much about my kids and how hard it would be for them that I didn’t
realize it would be hard for me too. I put so much pressure on myself to stay put-together that I
didn’t allow myself to come undone…until now.
I spend my days drinking cold coffee, taking away the kids’ iPads, and tripping over piles of
unpacked-but-not-put-away stuff! I feel paralyzed by my own expectations. And I’m thinking of
the words of our friend and remembering that if the move is hard, it will be good for us. He was
referring to the kids, but now I realize that rings true for me too. For us all. This is a time to
experience new adventures, to embrace the unknown, and allow myself to grow. The
disappointment I feel now can be a catalyst to find joy.
I started referring to this summer as “The Lost Summer”. I feel like all the dreamy ideals of
summer are slipping through my fingers as I sift through boxes…just trying to find pyrex and
play-doh. Where are the family bike rides? Where are the playdates at the park with friends?
Where are the quiet evenings on the patio with a cocktail? (No seriously, where are the
A friend of mine reminded me this week that someday my kids may look back at “The Lost
Summer” and realize they have cherished memories from this time. She is right. The beauty
behind deep disappointment is learning to find unexpected joy. From the struggle we
can find joy.
We all have “Lost Seasons” in life. Moving, losing a loved one, starting a new job, adding a new
baby to the family…a season where life is hard, difficult; a season where we feel exposed and
vulnerable; a season where we feel lost. You might be in that “Lost Season" right now with me,
or just coming out of it. Or perhaps you remember all too well your past “Lost Season(s)” and
the tenderness you felt. Let’s reach out, as a #Mother, and share compassion with each other,
no matter what season we are in. Let’s be the kind of #Mother that can find joy in the