We have not had any grand adventures by most people's standards, and - as my daughter keeps reminding me - our summer days are flying by all too quickly. But each day there is something - some small moment that is what I would call an element of the perfect summer.
Life is chaotic at best. It's a good chaos. We try to pack so much into these days and make them memorable while still getting the stuff of everyday life done. Bills must be paid, laundry must be done (occasionally), house must be tidied up (eventually), various appointments must be kept (regular check-ups with doctors and dentist, but also the hair, people ... we must not let the pool water ruin our hair). And in between all of that - or despite it (and seriously, could I use more dashes or parentheses to interrupt my thoughts? I talk this way, too, lately. Ask anyone.) - we somehow manage to have loads of fun and I find quiet moments to ponder life's ... well ... to ponder life.
The kids and I have traveled to Ypsilanti (MI) to hang out with daddy a couple times. I've been down there once by myself. Heaven, that was. I did a little solo shopping on my way there. And back. My kids are older now but shopping all by myself still feels like a privilege. And I don't even like shopping all that much.
We were there in Ypsi (call it "Ip-see" or "Yip-see" ... nobody cares) for the 4th of July, which was different for us because we missed our neighborhood get-together and fireworks party for the first time in, like, ever. But it was nice to be together as a family and to create some new memories: all four of us swimming and laughing together in the lake at the campground, going to bed early and then me and the kids quietly slipping out in our jammies to watch the fireworks being shot off all around us.
The kids. Summer is really all about them, isn't it? It's their break from school and they want to pack in as much fun stuff as they can. Sam is currently away at his second week of summer camp. The first week was at church camp and this week is at a youth camp just down the road from home. I'm so glad he enjoys it ... and frankly, he needs the time away from his mama and sister to be a boy and make friends who are boys and do boy stuff and hang out with some good male role models. I have had some memorable moments with Sam this summer for sure, but I think what I will remember most is how I have begun to look up to him - literally - when I talk to him. He is 13 and on the cusp of becoming a man in so many ways. I pray regularly that I am up to the task of being the mom he needs me to be. I do love who he is today and who he is becoming. And I love those mornings when I look up from whatever I am doing in my gardens and he is there, and we talk.
And Rachel. Our little spitfire. She helped me plant my veggie garden and planted her own flower garden for cut flowers. We are learning together. This week while it's just us girls we are redecorating her bedroom. The girl knows what she wants, and that includes purple, teal and white paint. And peace signs. Pictures? Oh yes, there will be pictures. I think what I will remember most about this summer, the summer of Rachel's 10th year, is how she continually cracks me up with her wit. Sometimes she means to be funny, other times she's just saying what's on her mind. It might get her into trouble occasionally, though mostly it's harmless and in good fun. But oh, it is a glimpse into how quickly her mind works, and that? Is rather frightening. In a good way.
When I think about what we have done this summer (which is only half over, by the way) I think of afternoons spent floating in the pool when both the air and the water were 80-some degrees. I think of standing in the dollar store and trying on the god-awfullest blinged-out sunglasses and laughing with Rach and her Aunt Sue. I think of exchanging thoughts with a friend about a book we've read that turned out to be the perfect reading material for this season in our lives. I think of cool mornings standing on the patio sipping coffee and watering my garden(s).
Oh, my gardens. I have gotten so much joy from my gardens this summer. They really deserve their own post with pictures, and I'm going to do that soon. But I can tell you all the work I put into creating this space for myself - for my whole family, really, but we all know who enjoys it most - was well worth it. The gardens are always works in progress, and that's part of the fun. There is always something to do, but nothing so pressing that I can't sit and enjoy a visit with a dear friend and listen to the bees buzzing around the squash blossoms or the hummingbirds zipping up to the petunias for a drink.
Summer is a busy time for pipelinin' and that means I don't get to see much of my husband. We sure do enjoy the times we are together, though. That old saying, "absence makes the heart grow fonder" is spot on. And when we're not together ... when I am here at home, or at the campground in our travel trailer waiting for Steve to get done with work for the day, I praise God in Heaven for this life. I am truly in awe over how He has orchestrated our lives to give us everything we need and then some. Those "elements" of a perfect summer? Sometimes they are those fleeting thoughts that make me smile while I'm washing dishes or packing bags for another road trip: my husband, willing to do what it takes to provide for his family and allow me to be a homemaker; his texts and e-mails just to say "good morning, have a great day, I love you;" his suntanned face. Sometimes they are tangible, like the new gun and box of .22 shells Steve brought home last weekend, and the fun we all had doing some target shooting.
It might be half over, but that means we still have plenty more summer to enjoy before the kids hit the books again. I'm here! I haven't abandoned my blog! But for as much as I love writing and recording these precious moments, if I have a choice between sitting and writing or wandering outdoors to check the green bean plants or to jump in the pool, the plants and the pool - and the kids - will win every time.
OK, almost every time.
Here's hoping you find joy in your day today. I'm going outside to play.