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I say “no” to my children often.

“No you can’t eat that.”

“Stop hitting your sister.”

“Put the iPad away.”

The summer stretches in front of me like one long nooooooo toward the horizon that is autumn. With everyone home and up in each other’s business, and long hours of sunlight, it is a wasteland of time with little to no structure built in. And since I know those “no’s” are inevitable, I’m wanting to be intentional about saying “yes.” In fact, I’d like to make it a goal to say “yes” twice as often as I say “no.” So I’m making a commitment to myself to say “yes” as frequently as I can.

Yes …

Yes … to the mess.

Yes, we can change the living room into a fort, get the train set out, make the sink a bathtub for your toys. Yes, we can paint, make water balloons, bake cookies. Yes, we can make a craft masterpiece with feathers, glitter and beads, or Tupperware castles, and dig tunnels in the garden for fairies.

Yes … to the noise.

Yes, we can invite the neighbor kids over, play that computer game, have a sleepover. Yes, we can listen to that CD in the car for the umpteenth time! Yes, we can scream during the water fight in the backyard, play Power Rangers in the house and sound the horn every time the Rockies get a hit.

Yes … to a vacation from the routine.

Yes, we can stay up late, sleep in until noon, have dessert before dinner. Yes, we can do the chores later, skip a practice, wear swimsuits all day. Yes, we can skip your sister’s nap, sleep outside, watch movies in bed.

Yes … to getting out and “going.”

Yes, we can walk to the park, go for a bike ride, go to the pool. Yes, we can go on a road trip, go camping, go to the library. Yes, we can visit our friends, go for a hike, go get ice cream.

I can approach this summer with dread or with a sense of adventure. Everyone will be happier if I say “yes” with enthusiasm frequently.

Will it be more work for me? Often, yes.

Will it cost more? It doesn’t have to.

Will I be making memories through a number of small gestures? Most certainly.

Loosening a few self-imposed rules and mixing things up will help those long days move along rather than drag for both my littles and me.

Alexandra Kuykendall
As a mom to four girls, ages 3 to 12, Alexandra Kuykendall’s days are spent washing dishes, driving to and from different schools and trying to find a better solution to the laundry dilemma. She writes to capture the places where motherhood meets everyday life to remember the small, yet significant moments in the midst of the blur. She is the author of The Artist’s Daughter, A Memoir , a contributor to this year’s Be you, Bravely, An Experiment in Courage and acts as the Specialty Content Editor for MOPS International. A city girl at heart, she makes her home in the shadow of downtown Denver. You can read more of Alex’s everyday thoughts and connect with her at

What will you say “yes” to this summer?