18 Summers

18 summers

18 summers

We get 18 Summers before they move on.

I’ve been counting them for the last five years.

Our oldest graduates from High School this Friday. We had 18 summers.

18 summers

He has three more summers at home with us.


And our youngest has four more summers.

Sure, there will still be summers, I know that. But they change, and change is both wonderful, normal and also kind of heart wrenching.

the days are long but the years are short


  1. This sure is a truth! My youngest is 14 and I can’t believe I am so close to being “done”! I remember when they were young it seemed like it would last forever. We need to cherish our days, for sure!

  2. This is such a great reminder for me. With 3 boys, 9,7,and 2, it is so easy to just try to survive the summer. These carefree days when summer is full of possibilities and fun are so fleeting. Soon enough they will have jobs and families and responsibilities.

  3. And here I am counting the five weeks until my first baby comes! It seems like time just flies by! Counting down the days that are left of just my husband and I as well as the few mornings I have left to just sleep in! But I have a whole new countdown ahead of me don’t I? Though it is full of uncertainty, this is a good reminder to soak in the short years that are ahead of me. 18 Summers to go!

  4. We have been counting too. 19 summers for the oldest. The youngest is 17 summers. I love my teens and am excited for them and their futures, but man, I’m not quite ready to let them go.

  5. Wow, this got me a little choked up. It’s so true. My youngest is graduating from kindergarten this year and it was only this week that I started realizing HOW FAST the time has already flown. I’m sure the time flies even faster when they are older. Cherish the sweet moments.

    BTW- the saying about long days and short years is something my mother always said to me. :)

  6. So true! It was 20 years ago that our oldest son graduated high school. I knew things would change when he left for college, but thought he’d at least be home the following summer. But he and some buddies took jobs as summer grounds keepers at school. He saw it as a great adventure, but my mamma’s heart grieved when I realized he never would truly live under our roof again, not even for the summer.

    This year our 7th child, a daughter, graduated high school. Just last night I was going through pictures in preparation for her open-house and asked my husband where the years have gone. We’ve been at this parenting thing for 38 continuous years and still have 2 more kids to graduate high school. Even though we’ve spent nearly 4 decades raising our family, it still seems as if it’s been but a moment when I look at pictures and reflect on all the memories

    Redeem the time! It truly does go by so quickly.

  7. I remember when you started counting. Five summers before I had my first baby. And now I’m counting. I’m determined to make them count even if all we do is relax, play and soak up the sun. That’s where some of the good stuff is anyways. Enjoy this summer to the fullest.

  8. Lisa Mothersead says

    They look pretty calm, cool, and collected about life. The big suprise about our millennials, was they came home and didn’t get married after college, and seem to want to spend a lot of time with us. Both a blessing and a pain (think $). It’s been a little challenging and less fun for this mom who already devoted full-time energy and love to them for years and had other ideas for these beautiful and well educated gals. Dad seems to be enjoying their slow growth into adulthood, though (ugh).

  9. Another reason to have kids go to community college close to home for first 2 years of school! More Summers or at least more time. I’m on a campaign to keep kids out of big colleges for the first two years. To whomever is reading this, I know your kid is ready, ;) I’m talking to the other parents of those not ready kids.

  10. I know exactly what you mean. We just became empty nesters in April of 2016 when the youngest of three moved out. Time seems so short. At first you wish for the silence and then you wish they would say HI once in a while. Everyone gets so busy and has their own lives. We are now grandparents to 3 children. My time sure does fly, it seems like it was yesterday! Enjoy the time spent together while you can. Cheers.

  11. Love the idea of counting the summers – thank you! And congrats on your son’s graduation!!

  12. If you get a chance read the book “Just 18 Summers” – it is so perfectly imperfect and messy beautiful! Promise you’ll love it ;)

  13. JaneEllen says

    You have such handsome sons. Boy, do Know how hard it is when they grow up, go on their own way. You raised them well, enjoy those last few years with them.
    I was lucky in that our 4 kids stayed right close around where we lived at time. For few years at least we had them close until one by one we all moved away. We’ve moved to be by them and moved away. Our two youngest live in same area as us but with grown kids, life they are so busy. Two oldest live in San Diego again where we all started out. Thank God for computers, skype and phones. Happy week

  14. Bonnie Jean says

    I have two sons. One left after 18 summers and has only been back for visits. He did not finish college yet but money is needed so he is working for a bit. That was 5 summers ago… sometimes he worked in the winter and went to school in the summer. I pray one day he will finish. Being the first born… somewhat independent and after a few years of worldly indoctrination … doubting the faith that was once so strong. That breaks my heart. My youngest stayed home with the promise of an apprenticeship in woodworking. That fell through and now he just works two part-time jobs because that is all that he can find. Only one has anything to do with his gifts and talents. He and I might have to move while husband stays here. The area where we live holds nothing for either of us in our areas of giftedness and my husband is a tenured teacher… afraid to leave the safety his union offers. So there may be many seasons of transitions with the family spread too far apart. Not at all the dreams I had in mind for them when they were born. That is the hardest. But I have to trust in God’s will for their lives and that He will not stop until He has finished His good work in them. Mothering is what I have loved most in my life… yet it often brings more pain than I could ever know. Still well worth it. I hope one day we will all be at least in the same region of the country.

  15. We are always told from the moment each chiild is born to “cherish this time, it goes by so fast”. I realized how true that stement is, not at my son’s first birthday, not when he got his driver’s license, not even at his high school graduation. The summer, the one before he went off to college, it hit me, like a 2′ x 4′ across the chest. I faced it for the first time, in two and 1/2 months he would be leaving home! Yes, I knew he would be home on a few weekends, Thanksgiving, Christmas and summers, but he would just be ‘staying’ here, not ‘living’ here as he had in all of his glory as he had for the past 18 years! The hot August day after we got him all settled in his dorm room, I kept fussing with things, straightening here and there and finally the hubs said, “Mom, say ‘bye’ to your boy.” I ran over to him, kissed and hugged him as fast as I coiuld, told him I loved him forever and ran like lightning to the car! In a few minutes, the hubs got in the car. We didn’t say a word to each other and as soon as we pulled away from the campus, I looked at him and he had tears in his eyes. I burst into tears and sobbed away the hours back home. Since that day, time has flown! From college graduation, law school even further away from home, the night he called us in the very wee hours and told us he had met the girl he was going to marry, law school graduation to his first job seemed like months and with each passing month he needed me less and less. I empty-nested in the worst possible way. Just as I had gathered my sense of direction, he came home to tell us he had asked Mary to marry him and they had set a date, my mind went into a blur. The months of planning, the wedding day, their first home and then…the day…two years later, when the hubs and I drove all night long and ran to him waiting inside the hospital lobby and I saw him smiling like I hadn’t seen him smile since he got his tricycle for Christmas….”you have to see her Mom, she’s beautiful and Mary did great!” At that moment I fully understood what so many people had said to me 28 years before. I held my gorgeous granddaughter and said to him, “Cherish every single second with her, you will be sitting where I am in the blink of an eye.”

    • Anonymous says

      Brought tears to my eyes, but thanks!

    • Yes, I had to choke back tears, too. What a precious post and so true. My hubby and I raised four, all now with their own families. We have 8 grandchildren—the oldest in college and the next oldest turning 14 this summer (just 4 summers left with him). Where has the time gone? My grandmother used to say that “the older you get the faster time flies” — I’m believing it!

  16. Love this article and your site! Brett, thank you so much for mentioning my novel, Just 18 Summers (which, by the way, is on sale for only $0.99 in eBook format for the month of June) in your comment. We also have a parenting online magazine at http://www.Just18Summers.com. Thanks so much to The Nester for posting this great reminder about the brevity of those summers with our children before they leave home. Because no matter how much we wish we could, we can’t go back and rewind yesterday to do it over again.

  17. Your boys are so handsome and your photos are beautiful!

  18. we’re counting, too. Luke will be a junior, Seth will be in 8th, and Lydia in 4th. Travel and making memories that will last have become our motto for living. I remember when you started counting 5 years ago! It flew by!!

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