My younger son James has nine more hours of school left (he goes three hours a day for three day a week). And then–it’s game on. We’ll start our routine of making popsicles, playing in the pool, swinging, going for walks, finding new parks, picking tomatoes, visiting the library, and counting down the days until we see the grandparents. Summer makes the saying, “the days are long but the years are short” feel true.

I don’t want to miss it. Sure, I hope to flip the pages in my book while David tries to flip into the pool, but I don’t want to miss the triumph of his best flip ever. Or the biggest splash ever. Or the biggest tomato ever. Or the biggest belly laugh ever.

So I have a plan. I’m making five changes I believe will help me focus on living in each moment this summer. Here’s what I’m doing:

  1. Taking a few apps off my phone. I don’t need to check Twitter from the back yard. I don’t need Facebook Messenger popping up when we’re at the library. Sure I’ll want to post a picture to Instagram, but maybe it doesn’t need a frame, text, and bokeh. Etsy browsing can wait. Pinterest searches can wait. 
  2. Limiting the canning. In years past, I’ve spent hours heating up the kitchen with my big canning pot bubbling. I didn’t want a single tomato to go to waste. But this year we planted a much smaller garden. That means less canning. I’ll still do pickles, but no salsa. I’ll focus on what we love and not the extras.
  3. Greeting my husband with a smile. The summer is going to be stressful for James. People with autism do best when they have a routine. In the summer, he’ll have four weeks off school, three weeks back, and then four weeks off again. His stress is going to cause me stress. My stress is going to cause me to want to unload or lock myself away when my husband walks in the door from work. But then my stress will stress him out. Instead, I’ll focus on greeting him with a smile. We’ll hang out as a family for a little while. Then I may slip off and take a quick break, but I’ll try to keep the stress from spreading.
  4. Asking for help. Some days, the stress may be too much. Or the wet bathing suits may be too many. Or the breakfast-snack-lunch-snack-dinner dishes may be stacked too high. On those days, I will ask for help. I will say yes to a play date at a friend’s house. I will call a babysitter. I will call a laundry folder and errand runner. (Are there such people? I need phone numbers for them please).
  5. Saying no to some editing jobs. Lee and I are releasing a book in September. In order to make each deadline I’ve set with my editor, formatter, and designer, I’ll need to use my evening hours to write, not edit. So I’ve said no to editing jobs in June. I’m excited about having time to focus on my writing again.

We’re all looking forward to more time outside and fewer places we have to be at certain times. I don’t want to waste the down time we’ll have. These changes will help me live in each moment and enjoy them to the fullest.

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