18 Summers


Do you ever wish you could go back and be a kid? Especially in the summer. Not a care in the world. No bills to pay. No little mouths to feed. All you had to worry about was whether you were going to go swimming again or ride your bike around the block another 18 times.

I think sometimes we all wish we could just go back to that stage. Ignorance is bliss, right?

I was 5 years old, and my best friend lived behind me and 2 doors down. We would run through the neighbor’s yard to get to each other’s houses, and we played outside all day long. The sun beaming down on us as we ran back and forth through the yards. Coming in with little barefoot black feet only when my dad’s whistle could be heard throughout the neighborhood. We stayed up late catching fireflies in plastic cups with makeshift nets on top so they couldn’t escape. We had sleepovers and watched movies. We ate ice cream and way too many popsicles, but man, those were the days. The only worry we had was how to choose whose house to sleep at each night. It was the best.

I was 10 years old, and we ran that neighborhood. We physically ran around it, and we ran it while we played cops and robbers. We made crazy obstacle courses in my backyard. We walked to the park (alone…gasp!). We rode our bikes around and around and around, all the way to the local candy shop, where we bought and indulged in all the candy. We filled up water balloons BY HAND and swam from dawn until dusk. The feeling of chlorine never leaving our bodies. It was the best. We played, and we played hard. If we could just go back for one day to relive it all.

I was 16 and going into my junior year of high school. The days were filled with driving around, windows down, hands out the window, listening to Mae. Sometimes we drove with nowhere to go, but it didn’t matter, we didn’t need anywhere to go. We laid out by the pool to get that perfect sun-kissed tan, and we walked around with beachy, wet hair. At night we headed out to concerts and stayed up late by campfires, laughing and taking it all in, hoping that sweet summer would never end.

I was 18 years old, and I had just graduated high school. This was our “last summer.” The last one to spend together before we would split. We took advantage of every moment of the summer and then some. Late night graduation parties, sand volleyball, swimming at the quarry, bon-fires, concerts. You name it – we did it. It was the last summer, and it was a good one.

These are what they say are the best days of our lives. The glory days.

But here I am now, just freshly 30. Nobody ever told me what summers would look like when I was 30. For me they look like waking up early to feed the baby and getting outside as soon as I can throw all three kids together enough to walk out the door. We take 1,000 trips to the park and about 100 to the zoo. I fill up the baby pool approximately 37 times a week. The smell of sunscreen never leaves my hands, and I’m constantly tossing my kids in for another bath to wash the day’s summer off. All so they can do it again the next day.

We run through sprinklers and we swim in the pool, but for us, nothing quite beats days at the lake.

Walking to the park to play in the sand. Building moats and rivers for water to flow through. Biting my lip and looking away every time my kids want to slide down the old, way too high, hot, metal slide. Reminding them every second of the day not to go on the dock without their life jackets. Holding my babies on the boat as they start to doze off while we cruise down the channels. Watching them sit at the bow, as we glide across the water, smiling with the wind blowing their hair. Swimming at the sandbar and skipping rocks across the water. Taking golf cart rides to get another taste of the world’s best popcorn. Staying up for s’mores and giggles by the fire. Then wake up and do it all again the next day.

Nobody ever told me what summer would look like when I was 30.

But I’m here to tell you that this, this right here is the best. I can honestly say that all of those other summers don’t hold a candle to the ones we have now. Sure, summer is different than it used to be. We may not have the same freedom we used to (you know, because my life is now run by these little people), but nothing beats the joy on your own child’s face in the midst of summer. To see the freedom they have, that we long to have again, it is the best. It sounds so fun to go back to relive our childhood, but I wouldn’t trade my boys little tan-lined bootys for anything.

I love that I will have so many more memories from this stage of life than any of the previous stages.

This summer is the last summer before we start the hustle and bustle of school. As much as I have tried to avoid this happening, my oldest will start Kindergarten in the fall, and I know so much will change in this next year. So I am taking advantage of every moment that I can.

I’ve heard it said before that you only get 18 summers with your kids, so you have to make them worthwhile. The first time I heard someone say this, it made me really sad. 18? That’s it? I know this time is going to fly, and it’s a stressful time in life, that’s for sure, so how am I going to make the best of it? I honestly don’t know the exact answer to that, but what I do know is, I’m going to give it my all, and I am soaking in every last ounce of summer with my boys, because I know for me, these are the days.

These are the glory days, and these are the summer memories I will cherish forever.

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Liz Malone
Liz was born and raised just across the border in Bedford, Michigan. She married the love of her life, Jared, in 2011 and moved to his hometown, Sylvania, Ohio, with plans of moving back to Bedford in the near future. Nine years later and she has fallen in love with the parks, the trails, and the people in Sylvania, and the Malones have no plans to ever leave. Liz is a former high school English teacher who is now living her dream of staying home with her three young boys: Jack (5), Huck (2), and Jed (10 months). If you happen to walk into the Malone household on any given day, you will likely find naked boys running amuck whose favorite words are poop, potty, and *insert tooting noise.* Her favorite thing to do with her family is to spend summers at the lake boating, swimming, and just soaking in the sun. In her spare time, Liz enjoys working out, running, playing pretty much any sport, and anything that involves the outdoors (some people might even say she is a little bit competitive...????). She also enjoys playing guitar and leading worship with her husband at their church in Sylvania and making new friends. Liz is passionate about finding the joy in all things and investing in and building relationships with the younger generation. Some days Liz feels that her life is utter chaos, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. She loves the wild life that boys bring, and she truly feels blessed to be a #boymom.


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