18 Summers. How Many Do You Have Left?

18 summers


It’s the backwards count down that I make myself do every year.

We have to. It’s horrible and also a wonderful reminder.

Our oldest has 3 summers (I started counting the one after the senior year, I’m fooling myself counting that one, I know).

The middle son has 6 more summers.

Our youngest has 7 more summers.


the days are long but the years are short

How many summers do your children have left at home?

P.S. Has anyone read the book Just 18 Summers? I think I’m adding it to my summer reading list.

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  1. Midwestmom says:

    I know exactly how you feel! But I’m not even sure I can count this summer where my son is 16. He spends all his free time, when he’s not working with his grandfather or doing his mowing jobs, with his friends. that’s great for him, lots of memories! Sad for this mama. We do have a great beach vacation coming together. But I do feel like I’m missing him a lot.

  2. this one and hopefully the next… because like you, i want to count the one after senior year but i’m not sure i really should!!! so many of my friends kiddos are starting their college classes next week! eek!!! i plan to cherish this summer as much as i can… just like the others :)

  3. Andrea L. says:

    Oh man… I have 3 little boys (4, 2 and 10 months) and just reading this makes me sad. Is that silly? I love seeing them grow and develop but I wish that they could stay small just a little while longer. :)

  4. Jennifer says:

    7 and 14 more summers. My boys are 13 and 22 months. I think about everything this way. Baby teeth, clothes shopping, Easter bunny, Santa…….. i need to work full time but i had rather substitute teach and be about broke than to spend a summer missing memories being made.

  5. My kids have 8, 10, 14 and 15 more summers. That sounds SO long, but in talking with moms of older kids and hearing about jobs/driving/friends as they hit the teen years, yeah, savoring this one. I under scheduled this year and am really happy and enjoying it. In the past, I needed those day camps or soccer classes at the park and ideas for structure…this summer, we’re enjoying lots of lazy days and laying around, reading, playing, getting kicked outside and coming up with fun games, and swimming. Along with a general “bucket list” to make sure we do some fun things in there. :)

  6. 8. Only two with big boy (and yes, that’s counting the summer after. Thanks a lot. ;)

  7. -1 BUT… they come back and then you get bonus summers. Enjoying one right now!

  8. That quote has always stuck in my head because it is SO true! My boys are 8 and 10 so I am already aware of how fast time goes. Great reminder to count those summers – and cherish every moment! Thanks, Shelley

  9. What a great way to make EVERY summer count! When I first read this I thought – 18 summers left, does she know something I don’t about the end of the world, the end of days ;) (I don’t have kids yet so you see where this lead me) ;)

  10. My oldest, my sweet daughter graduates tomorrow…I’m a wreck! She has had a job since last summer and she is going to the beach with her friends Saturday morning. My son maybe 2 summers left, but he’s a homebody so maybe more… I’m one mess of a mama today!!!

  11. Mine are gone, and I haven’t been the same since. I’m glad I have teaching, because otherwise I would be a total mess and probably addicted to gosh-knows-what and running around with motorcycle boys and smoking.

  12. My summers are over, but I’m getting a bonus this year too! My son is a Midshipman at the US Naval Academy, and they usually have training blocks in the summer with one short break at home. We are picking him up after his second training block and doing one of our biggest family road trips ever, from NC to Maine and back, with both kids and our daughter’s service dog. I think my friends think we have lost our minds, but I’m so looking forward to it!!

    And there is life after your summers are over, it’s just different………..the time they spend away from home makes the time they are home all the sweeter!

    • I totally agree with your last statement! Our oldest was a mid too (Class of 2013), and his short summer breaks really taught us to appreciate every minute together. Enjoy your trip!

  13. I’m at the age where I’m counting down how many more summers I have left with my granddaughter. It’s only 4 more! The time has gone by in the blink of an eye!

  14. Not a one. :( He’s 40 and now he will count down the summers with his 14-mth. old son and little girl due any day. Gosh how I miss counting summers.

    Beautiful post!

  15. 2 and 4 (if you count the one after their senior years). It’s exciting and sad, all at the same time…they grow up so fast, but I love having teens. Crazy?! Maybe.

  16. Jennifer says:

    Mine are running out like the last bits of sand in the timer the Wicked Witch set for Dorothy…four kids and I’m down to less than 3 summers with my youngest – blessed that my middles still call home “home” during the summer…for now at least :-)

  17. Ten until my first is gone and 15 until my last. Bittersweet. :)

  18. Whoa. SInce oldest will be 19 in 2 days he doesn’t count anymore. :( So um, 10 yr old (9 Summers) and 7 yr old (11 Summers). Subtract the overlapping years… mmmk, 11 Summers. ELEVEN.
    Now I need some wine and Kleenex. And grandchildren, apparently.

  19. This made me cry. My boys will be 15 and 11 next month so not nearly enough.

  20. I only have 3 short summers left with my eldest. Since she entered high school last fall, the short amount of time I have left with her at home, in my life daily, has really weighed on me. I feel an immense amount of pressure to make every single minute momentous.

    Penny Williams
    Author of “Boy Without Instructions”

  21. One, two, and seven (thank God for oops babies). That’s how many summers left for me. What a reality check! Thanks for the perspective . . I think ;)

  22. Jeanette Sparano says:

    I always did that when my children were little. We have no more summers left….just summer vacations and we aren’t always lucky enough to have all our children at the same time. This is a great reminder to all who are blessed to still have babies in their nest and it helped us to cherish and really be present for everything with our kids. It applies to Christmases, birthdays, etc. It goes soooo fast. We are blessed with two grown sons, a grown daughter and a bonus daughter (aka daughter in law) who we love so much and two incredible grand babies who are the lights of our lives. Looking forward to the three weeks we will spend together at the beach this summer. :0)

  23. We have 10 days, yes days, left with our middle son and 3, possibly 4 left with our youngest. I am so thankful we had an extra year with our eldest before he left home. No college breaks for us as the eldest is in the Army and the middle leaves for the Army. Time has passed too quickly!

  24. I have 18+ summers left (14, 16, and 18+ respectively with my three boys: 4 years old, 2 1/2 years old, and due in September). Even with so many summers left, this was an excellent reminder today to not take for granted these summers, to be intentional with the time I have as “the mom” of these kids while they’re still kids.

  25. My daughter is home for a second summer (after 18) – so they don’t all leave for good! My youngest will be a senior next year and he states he doesn’t plan to come home for summers (wants to work at college). Hubby and I are excited for our next adventures together on our own for awhile – good to be married to your best friend!

  26. remembering too that none of us mamas are guaranteed even one more summer…a strong reminder to show them love like this is the last one while also remembering that showing love can mean giving them room to grow.

  27. Needed this reminder today. I haven’t read it, but the woman who wrote it spoke at my writer’s conference a few weeks ago. She was great.

  28. What a thought! Definitely brings things into perspective!

  29. It looks like perhaps you have a blue pool again :-)

  30. Thinking about how much time we have or don’t have left together is just not healthy for me. Day by day. One day at a time. No counting.

  31. Elizabeth says:

    I have never thought to count summers. . . . I have just enjoyed and savored them! My oldest just graduated from high school. He is working a roofing job this summer so he is busy. I feel blessed because he has chosen to attend our community college AND live at home for the next two years. He is an amazing young man – we love it that he will be around a bit longer!

    Our daughter is 10, so. . .8 more summers? She is a delight as well, most of the time. I cherish summertime. It is when I can snuggle up with her and talk-she has so many questions! We read and craft and garden and swim.

    I am a teacher so I do not count down the summer days. Makes them pass way too quickly. Perhaps that is why I’ve never thought to count the summers left with my children? Anyway, to those of you with little ones- enjoy every minute with them (even the tough ones). They grow up fast whether you count the years or not. Happy summer!

  32. Melissa McIntyre says:

    Let’s see, 3 more with our oldest daughter based on age, but she is special needs so may be with us for the rest of her summers! Second child just turned 13 yesterday so 5 more with him. Third child has 7 more. Fourth child has 10 more. Fifth child has 13 more. Sixth child has 15 more. And we’re hoping that this month there will be a number 7 to share 18 with ;-) !

  33. 20 and 24. The 20 year old decided to take a summer session at the university this year (12 hours away), so a partial with her when she arrives home in July. And, the 24 year old now has summers free being a new teacher…but her days are filled with other things most of the time. So, other than the hot Atlanta heat…summers are kinda just like any other time of the year around our house.

  34. thank you!! just ordered the book!!

  35. Kristina says:

    My oldest just graduated last Friday, and left for staff training at a high Sierras summer camp the next day. I’m so wishing right now that your “plus the summer after graduation” rule applied here. Also? The youngest one has two years left in HS, but she’s with her sis, traipsing around the Sierras, learning wilderness first aid and orienteering and stuff. Sniff. So, maybe 2 summers? Maybe none. (I myself left shortly after HS to work at the same camp, but I still get verklempt when there’s no one here fighting over who gets to borrow a favorite and/or recently purchased piece of MY clothing).

  36. I don’t count summers as much as years. My youngest will be in 8th grade so we only have five more years then he’s gone…..three more for my daughter….and only one more year for the oldest. I do see these last years as the sweetest! This is one reason I’m not interested in a full time job right now….I love being home with them! (I do sub. teacher during the school year.) I can have a job/career later….they are only teenagers once! They really are fun to be around – well…minus the eye rolls and messiness. :)

  37. Teresa R says:

    My son has been away from the nest for 16 years.

  38. My daughter is TWO so I have 16 more summers! This kinda put things all into perspective considering I’m barely surviving the terrible twos.

  39. I have 12 summers left with my oldest boy, 13 with son #2, 15 with my little princess, and 16 with my baby boy. Trying to make the most of it.

  40. I find this obsession with the “number of summers” left disturbing. My youngest left for college 18 years ago. We enjoyed the good times with our two children and got through the rough times with lots of love and prayers. We missed each of them when they left, but we knew that was what we had raised them for and went on to enjoy the next stage of our lives which has included travel, weddings and grandchildren. Enjoy each stage, but don’t try to hang on to it.

  41. I love your blog – been reading for many years (since the beginning almost!) I find I am one of the few that this “how many summers” sentiment does not resonate with – maybe this makes me an odd bird. Haha. I think we are not guaranteed one more day with our children – after burying my twin daughters six years ago, and my young cousin two short years ago – I don’t ever take one day for granted. Maybe that is why I homeschool – and our years are not set apart into summers…we enjoy ever day together. One time my husband and I were walking on the beach with our family and my (then 4 year old) daughter wanted to run into the ocean in her clothes – a nice dress, at that. My husband did not want her to and I said: What if this is the last day she lives and her last chance to swim in the ocean?! Let her! – so she did, and I have never regretted letting her enjoy that small moment – and the dress dried out just fine. I am not saying I am overly permissive and let my kids to anything they want, despite consequences – not saying that at all. I just think none of us (besides God) knows the number of our days – and so even if my children do live until adulthood, there is no guarantee that I will – or that each year will look the same for us (it won’t). So – we enjoy each day and not count the days in front of us…


  42. I have as many summers as my boys need left.

  43. I hear what you’re saying we have one summer left with our oldest, not counting the one after his senior year. Makes my heart literally ache. Then the other three are flying right out the door behind him. Lord help me. I’ve always tried not to put my everything into my kiddos, to have other interests so when they were gone I wouldn’t be lost and pathetic. But I can’t help it I’m a mother, they are my thing, my world. It’s hard to see them leave the nest.

  44. My oldest is already in college, but still lives at home, so while I see her quite a bit, it’s still not the same. At 21 she kinda runs her own life.

    I have three left (counting this one) with my baby, if 14 is a baby. It’s bittersweet, but it really does make me think to enjoy every second. I’m less productive work wise, but I’ll gladly trade an afternoon in front of the computer to spend it with her in a heartbeat.

    I’ve always remembered this since the first time you said it, it’s one of the many things you’ve said that’s stuck with me over the years. Which is why I love ya :)

  45. Nester,
    my grandmother had 10 children in 23 years. She would not count down summers but she did say that when they start kindergarden they are starting to move away from home. She was a farm wife with oldest in college, some in high school, middle school, grade school and at home. She said there were tears of happiness (and sadness) with all of them. I was the first grandchild, born the same year as her youngest. So the counting and memories just continued.

  46. I began that practice when my oldest was 9 (she’s now 27). My youngest is now a junior in college but I still figure that I have this summer, next summer and then she moves back for a brief period of time before venturing out into the world. It is bittersweet. My husband and I will travel together to ease it. ;)

  47. My twins are 28 now. Four years ago, they were both living/working in NYC. I was a widow ( at 49) living in TX. I met a man that I totally fell for ( fellow widow from OR) and when we decided to share our life together, we had a big family get-together to really talk about how we all felt living so far apart ( my kids and I are and have always been close-no terrible teen years or whatnot).

    We decided on the kind of life we all wanted, and San Diego became our new go-to. Hubby is from here /went to college here, etc-and when we visited, we all fell in love with it.
    Within a year we had all pulled up stakes and moved to “America’s Finest City!”

    It was a bit daunting, but has been so worth it. Living in the same town as my kids is priceless.
    We can get together for holidays or just to share a meal. While this arrangement may not last forever ( hubby and I will stay here for sure, kids still have wanderlust, lol) we are happy for the way it is right this minute.

    See? You can enjoy MORE than 18 summers with your kids :)

  48. Last week we finished a series at church titled, ‘Losing Your Marbles’, based on a book by the same name. In essence, you start with 973 weeks or marbles, (from a child’s birth through their 18th birthday). Each week you ‘lose’ a marble. My husband and I have been profoundly convicted to make each week count!

  49. I haven’t ever thought about this! Sure I am seeing the years fly by, and recently I am feeling a bit lost as my role gets ever smaller with my 16 year old driving herself to school and practice and sleepovers. I have this summer and two more, if I count the senior year, and I am counting that! This is a reminder to me to make the most of it!

  50. Sigh… I don’t think I can read that book because it will for sure make me cry. Last week we launched into our season of sticky popsicle juice fingers and sidewalk chalk on every pair of pants, and I love it. I’ve thought often about your 18 summers concept, and it definitely helps keep things in perspective. Come on over for a popsicle anytime.

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