And she’s off.

As I mentioned. I might have overbooked Mak this summer.

I’m not sure if it was my attempt at”keeping up with the Joneses” and having her entertained all summer or my desire to distract her from her heartache (grief is reallllly big in an empty house) or if it was to keep us from strangling one another (I mean, she is thirteen….), but for whatever reason, I think I packed her summer too full.

I feel like I’ve had so little time with Mak this summer.

First off, she has three weeks of volleyball camp, which has put us in dire straits multiple days when it comes to traveling. I was spending about four hours in my car a day taxi-ing her around to Charlotte and back at one point.

She went off to youth camp all the way in Nashville, which might be the furthest she’s ever been away from us. At first, she called three times the first day from a borrowed phone. We didn’t let her take hers because a) it could have been lost/stolen/broke easily and b) all kids, even good ones, are capable of doing horribly stupid and dangerous things with cell phones when given opportunity… and the decrease in structure and supervision that comes from being away from parents away from home was just too risky.  Each time she called, though, I realized how much I wanted her home, safe.

She’s got cheer camp coming up and another round of volleyball, and she just had VBS at her Nana’s church this weekend. She wanted to stay an extra night and I said no just because I missed her.

At 13, there’s this strange struggle in me to want to keep her at home or with me at all times as if I am holding on to precious time, and/or trying to keep her protected from any and all hurts. Then she’s home for five minutes and the eye-rolling and attitude comes out and I am ready to send her on to the next activity just to keep myself from losing my ever-living mind.

Some days all she wants to do is eat junk, watch videos or Netflix, and text. She loafs about from couch to couch. Or she wants to go to this friend’s house or have that friend spend the night. She’s angsty, moody, and bored. Whine, complain, argue.

But then other days, she wants to do mani-pedis at home with me. She wants to help me go get groceries. She wants to cook with me. Something – perhaps the little girl she used to be – bubbles out of her and I can see my little girl, full of spunk and love, underneath all the teenage blech.

I’ve read over and over recently about how we get “18 summers” with our kids. I’ve been meaning to speak out against that. I missed out on the first 7 of hers. So I got 11. And this summer is slipping through my fingers fast. But the truth is, you don’t get 18. You get as many as you can – and you enjoy them and savor them even when your kids reach adulthood. I’m watching her transform. And I have to constantly remind myself that the clock is a stopwatch, not an hourglass.

While her nonstop schedule this summer might have put me in a lurch in time spent in the car, money, and leave me missing her, I do think it’s an important transition – to let her have this season of busyness as she transforms from a child to a young lady. When her attitude flares, I can remind myself that she’ll be off in just a few days and I’ll get a reprieve, and when she returns, I can rejoice and take in the cuddles and love and remember she’s still my same sweet daughter, and always will be.

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