The Thompson children enjoying their summer highlight

In my neighborhood, the evidence of leaves already falling from the trees sounds a clear indictment and an unmistakable verdict: Summer is virtually gone…and I didn’t do enough to justify my existence. We didn’t do a good enough bona-fide family vacationas in, we didn’t go anyplace exotic like Hawaii or Mexico or travel across country visiting national monuments or go to Disney World (sorry, Mom and Dad…I failed to continue the tradition and live up to the legacy and standard you set).

Instead, we went to Wisconsin Dells twice. The first time was mediocre but the second time was horrific: the small town where we spent the night had me constantly glancing over my shoulder expecting the Klan to show up. All three of our children are fully potty trained, yet one of them managed to soil their pants. The water park was crowded and there were band-aids and hair in the wading pool. Incidentally, the kids had no interest in riding the real water slides. I lost my car in the parking lot. Etcetera.

Summer in Wisconsin has once again ended as soon as it arrived, and I didn’t do enough to justify the time. The kids only attended one week of day camp, but they didn’t go to any kind of extended summer schoolthat means they were home all day, every day, making messes, antagonizing each other, and breaking stuff. In June, I was laid off from my job of 16 years and dealing with the existential crisis of recovering my identity (figuratively and literally…as I lost my wallet containing vital records, the kids’ safe ID cards, debit cards, et al).

The bigger kids did learn to ride bikes (only one of 10 items on my list of their childhood goals), but I feel condemned that I didn’t enroll them in The Super Reader club at the public library. I am sorry to report that no Super Readers live at our house. I struggled to get one of the kids to read even one third of one book all summer. I still haven’t found time to begin planting perennials in my flower bed like I’ve been planning for the last three years.

I didn’t engage with or disciple the fatherless neighborhood youth who come to our home from time to time seeking attention, affirmation, and life direction. I was simply too tired. I’m barely managing parenting my biological kids while balancing the arduous task of sending out resumes, formatting cover letters, evaluating my qualifications for various job postings (i.e. weighing my worth). Etcetera. No, I’m not living out the alleged “demand of the gospel” that I care for widows and orphans (James 1:27).

Yes, summer is gone, and so is my sin. Even the sin of not making the most of it. Summer is gone…but thank God his mercy isn’t. It is new every morning.