The checklist


Every time I see a “back-to-school” ad, I want to throw something at the TV.

Is it time already?

My little mommy heart races in anticipation of Friday. This Friday. The day my boys come home. We will spend the last two weeks of summer together before things rev up again.

As I look back at my six weeks of childlessness, I wonder about what I’ve accomplished. Have I used my time wisely? If I had to do it again, would I do things differently? Oh, wait! I will do it again. Next summer. And the summer after that. And the summer after that … Every visitation is a learning experience.

This summer I slept in. I missed my little boys climbing into bed and snuggling with me in the mornings. But I decided that my husband is a good pinch-hitter sometimes.

My stinkin’ cute mama on one of their bikes.

I have had time to hang out with my mama. Usually when the kiddos are around, they hang all over her (and me) and we don’t really get to chat. It was different and quiet and often lonely without them, but really cool to bond with my mom. It’s been a while.

I spent time with a friend I don’t see very often. She has been childless for a long time, but now she’s having twins! We shopped for baby stuff. We ate lunch. We had time to talk, and I was able to focus on just her. That was a gift, and I’m glad I seized it.

Out on the boat with family on the James River. What a day!

I dated my husband. We went on late-night walks at funny hours just because we could. Sometimes it’s fun to pretend we’re newlyweds with no kids for a little while, especially since we never experienced that stage.

I was able to flow like water, be spontaneous, and do random little acts of service for other people. It helped me forget myself. It made the time go faster. Super cool.

Mmmmm … Sweet Frog and fun friends.

I probably ate more fro-yo than I should have. But that’s okay, I guess. It was my summer treat. It was my excuse to steal people away for a bit and hang out with them. I bribed them with something yummy, and they came. It was fun.

God sent me a little angel. She is a single mom and reminds me a lot of myself three years ago. We have walked, laughed and cried together a lot in the past few weeks, and she has pulled me (unwillingly) out of bed on many a gloomy morning. She makes me smile. I love her kiddos and have been able to borrow them and hug them from time to time, which is super healing. Kiddo hugs are the best.

I got to chill with lots of family. Bergmans, Harrisons, Valles. Nieces, nephews, and cousins I don’t usually get to see. They are all so cool. We had lots of dinners and outings and get-togethers (oh my!). Family rocks. I love them.

My cute cousins.

I hosted a retreat for traumatized women at my parents’ beach house. I met some amazing women, and it was definitely a learning experience. I’m excited to see things like this happening on the East coast. We have so much work to do here.

At the beach house.

I got a job. Yep, it’s true. It’s just a little one, but it’s my dream job, and I can do it from home, so it’s a good start. Remember the website that I helped create and the summit meeting I went to in May? They were both for the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation (CESE) in D.C. Well, my contract is up, but they are going to keep me on for a while to help out and see how things go. Wahoooo! I am so honored to be part of the team.

So, as it turns out, I did pretty well this summer. I admit I didn’t take guitar lessons or lose ten pounds or read several novels, like I had planned to do. I was also sick and depressed and exhausted a lot of the time, but I pulled through. It’s funny. I’ve started to notice a pattern: Every time the kids leave, I get sick. Currently, I’ve had a nasty head cold for 2 1/2 weeks and am still coughing up nasty green goo. So weird.

Heaven knows would’ve rather been on a belated honeymoon in the Caribbean with my sweetheart, like last summer. But hey, we can’t live in paradise all the time, right?

Last summer in St. Lucia … *sigh*


Overall, it was a great summer. I missed my children immensely, but I accomplished quite a bit! And the funny thing is, I didn’t realize that until just now, when I wrote it all down. Thanks for listening to me process it all. 🙂

So … what did you do this summer? Are you ready for back-to-school?


Photo (top) courtesy of

3 thoughts on “The checklist

  1. Melody, it’s so true! We often don’t realize just how much we’ve accomplished until we write it down. I had this amazing realization when I pulled together home school year books for my two girls.
    And congratulations on your Coalition job! I’m so excited for you and I know you’ll help forward the cause!


  2. I love St. Lucia! Glad you’ve had a wonderful & productive summer! 🙂 I’ve been crossing off items from my bucket list…& now we are heading back into the swing of fall schedules. Time flies, doesn’t it? I appreciate your reminder to be productive and build relationships. Sending much love! ❤


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