Kicking the Bucket List

Like a freezing bucket of ice water being splashed in my face, the shock of it hit me. My children just finished their 7-week summer swimming lesson. That means we have already been out of school for seven weeks. That means they start back in fewer than three. That means we are running out of time. We have to fit it all in. We haven’t done this, this, or that.

And just as my thoughts started spiraling deeper and deeper, I caught a wave of clarity: It is time to kick the bucket list.

Bucket lists have lost their somewhat sinister meaning (things to do before we die) and have now become more of a “fun things to do list.” People create bucket lists for everything — summer bucket lists, holiday bucket lists, thing to do on vacation, places to travel, books to read, bucket lists of bucket lists to conquer…

For some people, a bucket list is a great idea. It helps them stay on track, provides a useful launching pad for ideas, and inspires fun activity. However, for people like me who MUST ACCOMPLISH EVERYTHING ON THE LIST, it just becomes another source of angst.

In the life of a perpetual list maker, there is always a hole in the bucket. We fill the list, yet no matter how much we check off, there is more to add.

We have undeniably had a blast this summer. It has been a non-stop fiesta filled with day camps, night camps, festivals, parties, BBQs, playdates, house projects, visitors, sporting events, etc. We’ve done some really cool things, but we’ve had our heads buried so deeply in the sand bucket of “big exciting things to do” that we only have three weeks left to do the things we REALLY want to do.

With four kids under seven we knew it wasn’t going to a be relaxing summer, but we truly haven’t come up for air once and we are all just plain exhausted! We’ve had our summer so jam-packed that we’ve had to miss out on some really awesome stuff (like free Dollywood tickets)! We hope to use the rest of the summer to enjoy the slow, lazy summer days we all dream about.

Rather than loading the kids up in the car to spend a long day at a festival surrounded by hundreds of strangers, forcing them to stay close to us and behave a certain way, we are going to let them take the lead. We’re not going to tear them away from their Lego constructions just to check another thing off the list. Perhaps we will finally hit up the local splash pad or blow up the inflatable pool in the backyard. We can check out some of the cool new parks or fill the bunch-o-balloons we so desperately needed. We can stop trying to make our deck perfect and just have friends over to play games and sip sangria. We can say no to things. We will go to bed earlier and hopefully stay asleep longer! We’ll make our own healthy popsicles or check out a new ice-cream joint. We can stay in our pajamas all day. We will rest and regroup while we still can.

And here I go making yet another list. But this time, it comes with a BUCKETFUL OF GRACE. For if we don’t fit everything in before school starts, it will be okay. We will have had fun and made memories no matter what, and that, my friends, is what summer is all about.

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