1 : the season between spring and autumn comprising in the northern hemisphere usually the months of June, July, and August or as reckoned astronomically extending from the June solstice to the September equinox
Unlike many moms, who dread the days spread out before them, unfilled, unscheduled and populated with youngsters, I love summer. I love sleeping until 8 and being awakened by K crawling in to bed next to me to talk me awake. I love staying in my PJs while I drink my coffee, making time to collage before doing anything "productive" and having all of my daughters around to help with mundane chores like packing snacks or lunches. And most of all, I love afternoons at the lake like we had today.
We arrived at the lake around 12:30, having lunched with J and packed only snacks and water (a reprieve from packing lunch for four, something all too frequent during these summer months). After spraying and slathering with sunscreen, the girls headed for the water. The lake level's a bit low, which works great since K doesn't yet swim. They played and played and played. I sat in the shade (it's perfectly fine with me if my skin stays creamy white all summer long), read my book (whilst looking up to check on the girls frequently), watched the girls play, hopped in the water to cool down once or twice and generally enjoyed the day.
I'm reading a book right now about NYC women who have given up their careers for their children. In it, one of the mothers thinks about how she's chosen a life only partially filled with stuffing, instead of packing things in to fill it out. She's internally lamenting this in the book, but it's exactly this quality that I love about my life. If my life were filled to the brim, I wouldn't be able to spend the afternoon at the lake doing absolutely nothing. I'd be too busy keeping the stuffing properly plumped and tended to. Instead, I get to tend to my children and my soul.
On our drive to the lake, apropos of nothing, B said, "Mom, do you think when Jesus comes back, he's going to want us all to fall on our faces and worship him? Or do you think he'd like for us to say Hi and invite him over for dinner?" Before I even had time to process the question, much less answer, A had supplied her own answer. I love the opportunity to have these kinds of conversations on our way to the lake - or anywhere else. I love that my daughter even thinks this way - that she wonders whether it's OK to be conversational in her prayers versus following proscribed methods and words. And I love getting to be there for all of it.
I'll confess that I've not always loved summer. Years ago, I started what our family calls The Fun Jar in order to make sure we got out of the house and took advantage of all our city has to offer. This meager beginning - an idea to put all of the fun things we'd like to do in a jar and then do them - has worked a kind of magic. It has exposed my children to parks all over town, instead of just those in our own neighborhood. It has allowed an introvert mom to parent three fairly extroverted daughters without feeling like a failure or driving them crazy. It's allowed friends from the various parts of our lives to meet, merge and meld. It's made summer something to relish, rather than endure.
I'm sure I'll need to re-read this post by late July when the girls are tired of summer, tired of each other and ready for a return to routine. But for right now, I'm soaking up the spirit of summer, if not the rays.