Enjoying the Final Days of Summer

Marie Osborne

Marie Osborne
Updated Aug 04, 2023
Enjoying the Final Days of Summer

I need to trust that the Lord has provided me with the time and energy I need without missing out on the gift of rest He’s given me today.

I got my first back-to-school email today, and I was horrified. It’s the beginning of August. I’m not ready for summer to be over. I long to extend the slow mornings, the sunkissed afternoons, the glorious sunsets, the evenings by the fire. I’m so thankful for all the memories we made playing in the sand, splashing in the water, having popsicles with neighborhood kids, staying up late watching movies as a family, going on hikes, going to the farmers market, and snuggling under the stars. I can’t imagine jumping back into the busyness of the school year, with all the added events, tasks, and to-dos, leaving little room for delicious summer laziness.

Looking Forward

The school year isn’t all bad. I am looking forward to the excitement of my kids moving into the next grade, meeting new friends, participating in school plays and sports, and watching them come alive as they continue to grow and find their place to shine. I’m excited to go back to weekly Bible study and reunite with our church Life Group. I’m looking forward to fall family gatherings and all the holidays, but I also really want to enjoy these final days of summer.

Gearing Up

It can be hard to be present in the final days of summer when there’s so much to do for back to school. Getting that email was like a slap in the face, reminding me of how much shopping and preparation I need to do in the next few weeks. But I don’t want all of that work, all the tasks and to-dos and responsibilities and appointments to rob me of the joy still left in these final sunny days together as a family. I don’t want to miss out on a few more beach days, a few more visits to the farmers market. a few more hikes. I don’t want to miss out on the taste of popsicles, s’mores, or barbeque. I don’t want to jump ahead into the next season and jump over the rest of this wonderful one.

But the truth is, there is a lot that needs to get done in the next few weeks. As I was skimming the back-to-school email, I started to get overwhelmed with all the dates I need to add to my calendar, all the errands I need to run, and all the items I need to organize. How am I going to get it all done unless I get to work ASAP? I started getting anxious and feeling very behind, but at the same time, feeling bound and determined to squeeze a little more summer out of the next few weeks.

Slowing Down

I sat down with my calendar and scanned each day. I decided then and there to set aside just one day each week to look at what needs to be done for the fall. I refuse to fill my days with preparation and shopping and organization and planning, but instead, I plan to section off some back-to-school planning time, allowing the other 6 days for rest and rejuvenation. Sort of a reverse Sabbath schedule. 

We still have so many delightful things coming up this month. My son‘s birthday, a trip to the mountains with friends, a spa day with my girlfriends, a barbecue with a few families, and the everyday slowness of the summertime. It can be really easy to try to fill that time up, to start trying to check things off my to-do list, but I don’t want to pack our days with productivity. I know myself well enough to know I won’t be able to enjoy the rest and recreation if I’m trying to be as productive as possible.

Setting Aside

It’s something that I need to work on. I need to pray about how to trust there will be time to get things done, how to trust that if I slow down and “reverse Sabbath” now, rest and recuperate and refresh with my family, there will still be time to buy binders and highlighters and pencils, to make freezer meals, and organize schedules and fill out paperwork. I need to trust that the Lord has provided me with the time and energy I need without missing out on the gift of rest He’s given me today. I can enjoy the final days of sun by allowing them to be slow and unproductive, saving the productivity for just one day per week.

I looked at my schedule again and selected one day this week, one day next week, and one day the following week. I scheduled them as Back-to-School Prep days. I made my list of all the errands I need to run and decided which tasks I can take care of quickly online and which tasks need to be done on my three prep days. I printed out the back-to-school email, the school supplies list, and I started a Back-to-School Prep folder that I can put papers in to work through on my three prep days.

I turned to the schedule one final time. I highlighted the special days that I need to remember. My son’s birthday, the spa day with my girlfriends, the weekend away with our best friends, and the barbeque with several families. Then I circled as many days as I could as “empty days.” Days to live as slowly as possible. I’m setting those days aside for sleeping in, lazing about, wandering to the beach or the pool. The circled days are high-priority days. They are my focus, my goal. Days where my entire job is to be present, peaceful, and unproductive.

Settling In

The last task I decided to take on was making a new to-do list. A list of ways to be present and at peace. Things to do that are unproductive, but having them on a list helps me remain focused and feel purposeful. Things like, coloring with my girls, baking with my son, singing in the kitchen, playing with the dog, playing a family game, watching a movie late at night, solving riddles by the fire, and making s’mores after dinner. I don’t have to accomplish all of these things. I’m not a fan of summer “bucket lists,” but this list helps me remain mindful of what my goal is this month. Slowness, presence, peace, joy. The dishes might not get done. The closet might not get reorganized. The car might not get cleaned. But our hearts will be full, our minds will be stilled, and our souls will be restored.

How will I enjoy the final days of summer? By not worshiping at the altar of productivity and preparation, but rather resting in the arms of my Father and trusting Him to take care of the rest.

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Pekic