As my mom has already said, she thought about how best to approach this summer before I even came home from school. I didn’t approach it quite that way… I was so focused on final exams that it didn’t even really hit me that I was actually going home until the morning my family was on their way to get me and I was frantically packing up my room! I kind of went with the flow, but there were a few things I made sure to do:
1) I made sure to respect my family’s routines.
Even in the summer, I know my family has certain routines. They eat dinner together most nights, or at least everyone who is at home eats together, and they don’t go to bed ridiculously late. I wanted them to know I still respected these routines, so before I left to go somewhere, I always asked what time dinner was. I knew I didn’t necessarily have to come back and eat, but I did want to make sure they knew I kept the family dinners in mind and I cared about it enough to have it as an option. In those first weeks before I started my full-time internship and my sleep schedule was still way off (midnight was just too early to even think about going to sleep!) I made sure to do something quiet like watching TV or messing around on my computer.
2) I let my parents know where I was.
Continuing on the “respect” note, before I left to go anywhere, I always let someone know where I was going and how long I expected to be there, without them asking. If I wanted to go somewhere after work, I would text my mom and let her know what was going on. On the few occasions my parents asked me to be home at a specific time, I made sure I was home at that time, because they had shown such respect about my own schedule.
3) I spent time with everyone in my family.
I had expected to have a job away from home this summer, so when I got an internship position that actually allowed me to live at home, I was thrilled. I was also aware that this just may be my last summer at home, so I tried to make the best of my time by spending time with everyone in my family. My dad and I (and sometimes my mom!) would get up in the morning before work to go on a bike ride or get bagels. I sat on the patio and got dinner with my mom, took Erin out for ice cream, chatted with Kyler, and tried to look like I was paying attention when Zach talked about football stats. (Just kidding Zach.) Actually Zach and I hung out in the basement, talked about school, and I made fun of his model pictures in the Vera Bradley catalog, which he loved to hear. Oh how he missed me while I was gone.
4) I helped out, willingly, when asked or when I thought I should.
I was not on the chore chart this summer (score!) so I was extra willing to help out around the house whenever I was asked. Sometimes (probably not very often, I will admit) I saw dishes in the strainer and put them away, or loaded a few dishes in the dishwasher, or wiped the counters without being asked, but for the most part I just helped out when asked. It was the least I could do!
5) I remained a member of the family.
This was a big one for me – I wanted to make sure I was conveying that yes, I had just spent 9 months living “independently,” but I was still a part of our family and therefore I participated in the family’s activities. I stayed home when we did mini bible-studies, if I knew we were having a good dinner, or if we were planning on going to the movies or something. I went to church with the family every Sunday. I wasn’t out of the house every chance I got – it seemed pretty obvious to me that I wasn’t just staying with my parents for a while until school started again, I was back living at home for the summer after school ended. Therefore, I participated in the things my family did.
Being home this summer was really an unexpected blessing and I wanted to make the best of it by being aware of how I approached it. Respecting my family, and being grateful for the respect I received, helped shape my actions this summer, and because of that (and of course our awesome family vacation and the time I got to spend with my Fort Wayne friends), I can confidently say it was the best summer I’ve ever had!
Home for the Summer Series ~ Introduction, Part 1