It’s a joy for me to be here with all of you today and especially with my dear friend, Anne Payne. Our friendship goes back many years, to those times when we were newly married and then when both of us had the joy of welcoming a baby into our homes. Now gray hairs and wrinkles (let’s call them character lines) have shown up and my three sons are grown—and had the nerve to get married and leave home!
Wow, the time zoomed by. And that brings me to what I want to talk about with you today. When my oldest son was a baby, an elderly couple stopped me at the mall and said, “Honey, enjoy that little one. They grow up so fast.” Turns out she was right—and now I’m that (ahem) old lady saying that to moms and dads.
That message really hit home one Sunday morning when my pastor dedicated a baby at church. As the parents turned to leave the platform, Rev. Sexton said, “Don’t forget—you have just 18 summers. Take time to make some memories!” Whew, those words slammed into me, particularly since my youngest son was getting married.
Eighteen years sounds like a long time, but we really have just 18 summers before our children leave home. Eighteen short summers to instill character and values, to make memories, to savor the sweetness of the moments.
So you’ll understand why I’m excited to tell you about the Just 18 Summers® brand of products and resources that I’m developing for parents. My Just 18 Summers novel (co-authored with Rene Gutteridge) has just released from Tyndale. It features the stories of four families at different stages of parenting. (More info is available on our website.) The book has the poignancy you’d expect but we’re hearing from our readers that they also love the unexpected discovery that it’s really funny. Just 18 Summers would make a great Mother’s Day gift!
I hope you’ll also check out our parenting blog at www.just18summers.com. We have a new post each Monday-Friday and our staff of 18 writers brings a wealth of great content ranging from home décor to recipes, craft projects to organizational tips, devotionals, object lessons, practical advice, and so much more.
The screenplay is written and we are working to raise the funding for a film. Other plans include music, a complete line of books, and other products.
Just 18 Summers® isn't a guilt-trip. It's a gentle reminder to slow down and savor the moments, to make some memories together, and to instill character and other important traits in our children. It’s a wake-up call that our children won’t always be there, to enjoy each precious season with them—because we can't go back and rewind yesterday, no matter how much we'd like to do that.
In the words of that elderly couple from so long ago, “Enjoy that little one. They grow up so fast.” How many summers do YOU have left, and what are you going to do with them?
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Thanks, Michelle, for sharing about this fabulous project you've been working on. I've been to the website and oh my, it is fabulous! I hope y'all will visit soon. Be sure and have a large cup of your favorite beverage on hand because there's lots to discover, both for parents AND grandparents.
Tyndale House Publishers is offering a print copy of Just 18 Summers to one of my blog readers. You must leave a comment for Michelle below. "Please enter me" won't get you entered. US ONLY!!! Ends April 11.