There's something good waiting down this road...

I am writing to you intending to lift your spirits this week. We are midway through the summer and I have managed to bring joy to my days even with the circus that is my life. If you know me, you know that I work 50+ hours a week with two jobs, attend soccer games, and stay up late to minimize the daily household chaos.

This summer is unique because my son is heading to Middle School next year. My husband and I wanted him to have a magical summer before he has to deal with the pressures of middle school and adolescence. So I found a summer "bucket list" for us to complete.

As I introduced this to my family, Brady instantly rolled his eyes as I suggested the first one to tackle was "bury a time capsule." My husband supported me and said, "you will do anything your mother wants, and I bet you will even enjoy it." So we began picking things off the list to accomplish. Some are easy, like stargazing, catching fireflies, and water balloon wars. Others took a little more planning, such as attending an outdoor concert, going to an arcade, or baseball game.

I was determined to complete as many as possible. Good thing I love a good to-do list. This challenge was right up my alley. And a much-needed distraction from the fact that I was working so much this summer and questioning all my career decisions.

The first one we tackled was the time capsule. My husband and I wrote letters to future Brady while he wrote one to himself. Brady went around the house collecting items for the time capsule, and I caught him writing a list of all the things he loved. One of which was himself. In his letter to himself, he wrote "I hope you grow up to be the best version of yourself." I thought if this is the only thing we do off the list, it's okay because just this one thing he will cherish when we open it back up years from now.

Now that we are weeks into our challenge, I'm feeling happier. We are taking the time to pause and spend time together, making the best of each moment. An hour out of the day to play mini golf or family movie night can make all the difference in turning a mood around. I feel like the atmosphere in the house is different. There are things to look forward to each week as we plan out the bucket list. The list is forcing us to try new things that are not part of our weekly routine.

It started out as creating a memorable summer for Brady but turned into just what I needed in a difficult time. I didn't realize that mentally I was in a negative place and now I feel like myself again. I hope you can read this and think about the simple steps you can take to do something that makes you happy. Even if it is just for the summer.

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