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Article: Summer of Love

andrea richards

Summer of Love

My two girls and I are on our Summer of Love tour-visiting family in North Carolina and the Midwest for almost a month. It's been an amazing trip and it is totally spoiling me. With all these aunts, uncles and cousins around, keeping my kids alive is so much easier. There's always someone watching, playing, or feeding them (usually ice cream or candy, but hey, it's vacay). And there is a brawl every nap and nighttime for who gets to put the little one to sleep (my Dad usually wins). Grandparents-is there anything better than their unconditional love, endless ability to play, and willingness to stay up with a cranky, teething toddler so mama can get some sleep? No. I've long believed the old adage that it takes a village to raise a child, but living so far away from my family, I rarely get a chance to see it in action. It's awesome! Not only have my kids had a host of incredible adventures (catching lightning bugs, boat rides, beach trips), I've gotten my first stretch of 8-hour sleep in a long, long time.


The best part of extended time with extended family though is seeing your kids make connections without you. When the three-year-old hopped on a golf cart with her aunt and uncle (and without me) the first night we were at the beach, I knew she was on her way, not only to being a braver, more independent kid, but also to building loving relationships outside of Mama and Papa. Ditto when she ran out of the house and down to the beach to meet her aunts by herself, and when she told me, in kinder words, to get lost so she could have some hang time with her cousins solo. I hate to pull the plug on all this familial love now that both girls are so comfortable with everyone-the three-year-old cried when we left her Granmommie's house, and, just last night went out with a group of cousins (and their parents) she'd only just met days before on a boat ride. When I left her in her little life vest on the dock, my gut sank with worry. Would she be okay without me? Of course, she was. She came back happy, proud, and closer to her cousins. This morning she told me she had a great idea: "I stay with Ann," she said. Ann is her aunt in North Carolina, who took us to the beach and who pampers her with endless sweetness. I can't wait for the day when my daughter and I are both big enough to actually take her up on that idea-because a Summer of Love tour should really last all summer long. When you need to give your Summer of Love a helping of zzzzzs, download one of our latest Rockabye Baby! lullaby renditions straight to your mobile device or MP3 player in minutes...that could mean hours of sleep for you!

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