When Summers Change

For many years summertime in our home encompassed days upon days in the pool. I would spend the morning slicing up the juiciest watermelons, making popsicles and snow cones. Shouts of Marco and then, Polo, would fill the back yard; the girls would play mermaids, there was always a judging on the best handstand and of course, a whole lot of “Watch me, Mom!”  The pools water would lap against the walls and be constantly stirred up as kids splashed and jumped and swam across.

“Watch my cannon ball!” “Did you see? Did I splash you?”

“Watch our swim dance!” “What do yo think, mom? Did you like my pirouette?”

“Watch me jump in mom! Be sure to watch, mom! Don’t miss it!” 

three young children jump into pool

I have enjoyed every summer with my kids. I relish the summertime. I love the long and lazy days. I love our beach and lake vacations where we would play all day in the sun. I love all our adventures, from jet skiing with dolphins to swimming with sharks. The days of “Mom, go Kayaking with me really far” to “Mom, help me dig the biggest hole ever!” were and are some of my favorites.

But this summer has been different.

I don’t buy into the whole you only have 18 summers thing. I mean, I get it. It’s all about making memories and realizing that Time is not yours. And it’s true.

Time is mean. Time is a bit of a thief. Time slips out of your hands like sand. But if you are lucky, you can have a lot more than 18 summers.

But the summers change and they will be different.

You aren’t guaranteed the same kind of summers like those 1st 18. Because, yeah, after those first 18 years, the only thing you can guarantee is change. After those first 18, your summers will change. The days upon days in the pool, with watermelon dripping down their faces and cries of “Mommy did you see me?” will be snapshots of time passed. It’s inevitable. It’s part of growing up and growing kids.

Soon, maybe other people will be joining you on family vacations. Or perhaps you will have to be very intentional about finding that time when the whole family can gather and be together. Or maybe there will be trips where your kids can’t join you. Or maybe they go off on their own, to make their memories, on their own adventures and experience a completely different world without you watching.

And the years of watch me mom are no longer. The years of watch me mom have become days of waiting for pictures to come through. Days of looking through IG to see if they have posted any new pics or maybe even joining Be Real so you can see all that they are up to.


group of young adults take flamenco dance class in Spain

It’s just a little different now.

The pool waters are still. The backyard is quiet. I sit and enjoy a slice of watermelon as the warm breeze of summer sweeps through the air. I can see them in my mind’s eye, jumping in and splashing around. We have had some really great summers.

A text comes in from my 17 year old. Greetings from Spain. “Hi Mom. We learned to Flamenco dance today. Did you watch the video? Did you see me? I was pretty good! I miss you. Love you.”

Yeah, I watched you. I have always watched you. No matter where life takes you, and how much your summers change, I will always watch you.

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Andrea Portilla
Andrea is a true Houston native! Other than her college years at Baylor and a few summers with family in Guatemala, she has lived around the Houston area forever and cannot imagine living anywhere else. Especially because of family nearby as built in babysitters, so many friendships built throughout the years, and the great people of this city, Houston is so dear to her heart. In junior high her family moved to the Sugar Land area, but she attended a high school in town and spent as much time as possible at the Galleria in the 90s! After graduating from Baylor University with a degree in Secondary Education, she married her high school sweetheart, Orlando, and they moved to the Richmond area where they have been ever since and where she homeschools their son and 2 daughters, ages 15, 12 & 9. Andrea is very active in Women’s ministry at her church and in her community. She began writing for more therapeutic reasons when the kids were small and soon began writing publicly, remembering her love for writing and realizing the gift and calling that it was in her life. She published her first book, Breathless: Prayers from a Mother Learning to Exhale in 2018, a devotional last year and is currently working on a few new projects. In her down time, Andrea loves alone time, especially because she’s an enneagram 4! She also loves coffee, hanging out with her family and friends, traveling, New York City, musicals, especially Hamilton, fair trade jewelry, and charcuterie boards! You can find her writing at www.andreaportilla.com or follow her on Instagram @dreaportilla and on Facebook.


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