Summer is coming. And I am not ready. Not only have I not tried to obtain a “swimsuit” ready body, but I’m just not ready.

Oh, don’t get me wrong! I love summer. It’s the season I was born. But, I’m not ready for summer.

Summer means child care. Summer means finding activities for my kids to do while I’m at work. Summer means paying big bucks for all of the above.

I’m not ready. I haven’t found anything for my kids to do. I mean, I did find day camps and classes my kids would love to attend, but they cost $300 for a four hour class. Per child.

I’m a bit resistant to shell out $600 for eight hours so my kids are entertained.

So this summer, we’re doing something different.

My 12-year-old will be my child care. I know! It’s a brilliant idea.

But I’m not ready.

I’m not ready for him to be old enough to be the independent child he’s becoming. He’s definitely matured this school year, and has successfully kept himself and his brother alive during “test runs” when I and their father run off for a few hours to complete errands or go out for dinner.

I look at my son, and see the amazing young man he is becoming. He is kind, thoughtful, helpful, funny and intelligent.

But, there’s more.

I look at his profile when we’re driving. His face is more chiseled and lean. The lightest whisper of baby hair lines his forehead, and I see it’s disappearing. I can tell his legs are growing to the gangly stage of adolescence. Soon, his voice will start changing and he will speak to me in a voice I won’t recognize but will love just the same.

He’s growing away from me.

He is growing into more of his personality, more of who he is in his spirit. He’s still so playful and his laugh just sends me to heaven with happiness.

When I look at him I see my baby boy, the cutest boy with the sweetest smile. I see him both as a baby and as the young man he is growing to become. I am both humbled and sad.

He is also unsure if he wants to be independent. He stays close to me in large social areas, yet, pulls slightly away so it’s not noticeable.

Oh, he still causes trouble for his little brother, but, that’s kind of the role of the big brother. Yes, the fights still happen, and yes, he still doesn’t do chores to my standards, but he makes the attempt and efforts

But I’m not ready.

He talks about college, and where he will live, and what kind of job he’d like to do. He talks about the world, and why some cultures have to fight for water and why there are so many homeless children in our own city.

I’m proud that he’s thinking of the future and where and how he may shape his own. I love listening to him talk about current politics, learning his view on social issues, all the time knowing he is going to change his views on all of this as he grows into adulthood and keeps learning. I see a path for his future that is so full of promise, excitement, adventure and love. He’s going to be an amazing man.

But, I’m not ready just yet.

Deb Burke

I grew up in the picturesque town of Madison, Wisconsin. That's the only normal thing about me. I also grew up in a family shoe repair business and soon learned that child labor laws don't apply to family businesses. I left Madison to finish college in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Here I became a spelunker, a cyclist, a mountain trail runner, an avid hot air balloon watcher (much to the dismay of the drivers behind me) and quite the connoisseur of green chili cheese burgers. Eventually, I fell in love, had 2 children, bought a house, and then got married (in that order). Life is certainly crazy keeping up with my two boys!