Monday, August 18, 2014

Now THIS Is Summer

This was my favorite moment today:

It was actually a pretty important moment.  Allow me to back up a bit to explain.

Have you ever read the book Are You My Mother??  {Sidenote:  How do you properly type the question mark of the title followed by the question mark that ends the sentence?}

This was one of Nolan's favorite books as a toddler.

In the book, a mother bird sees that her egg is about to hatch, so she hurries off to find food for her baby.  The egg hatches while she's away, and the poor baby bird searches everywhere to find his mother.

The baby bird searches everywhere for his mother.  He has a general idea of what he's looking for.  Something bigger than him.  Something that moves.  Each time he encounters a new animal or even object, he asks this new character, "Are you my mother?"

He begins to get upset because he is absolutely certain that he has a mother; he just can't seem to find her.

Finally, he lands back in his nest, where his mother comes home with food.  

The baby bird went through a lot before he finally found his mother.  He knew she was out there, and he kept going until he found her.

That's how I have felt about this summer.  I knew Summer was out there, but I couldn't seem to find it.  

Watching TV was not Summer.

Monitoring iPad time was not Summer.

Dragging my kids to the places I needed to be was not Summer.

Helping my sister move was not Summer.

Cleaning the house 17 times per day (only to have it gross again in 5 minutes) was not Summer.

Cramming in reading time in order to keep up with the library's summer reading program was not Summer.

Last week I knew our time was drawing to a close, so I tried desperately to find Summer with the kids.  We went at a slower pace.  We didn't eat breakfast until 9:00.  We didn't go anywhere that we didn't absolutely have to or actually want to go.  We snuggled and talked and made each other laugh.

We were so close, but I felt like I still hadn't wrapped my arms around Summer and given it a good squeeze.

Not to mention that one of my boys didn't get the teacher we were really hoping for.  And then I remembered how hard it is to just hand my babies over to people I don't know and trust these people to care for my treasures all day long.  I remembered that it causes a physical ache in my chest to leave my little ones and then turn around and go home without them.  I remembered how Nora had a case of Juvenile Depression (is that a thing?) last year for the first 2-3 weeks of school because she was so lonely without her brothers.  

I don't want summer to be over.  I never even found Summer, but I don't want to give up the search.  I'm not ready to be done.

So today was our last full day of summer.  The last day to sleep in.  The last day to be in control of our own schedule.  The last day to soak in our time together before we go meet teachers tomorrow and start full-blown school on Wednesday.

The kids went in our back yard to play while I worked on a few things inside.  I looked out to check on them, and was astonished to see that they weren't riding bikes in the tennis court behind our back yard, but they were actually playing on the golf course behind the tennis court.

My first reaction was to charge out on our back deck and yell at them for being so far away from our yard.  But then I stopped and watched them.

And I really watched them.

They talked and motioned to one another.  They made up stuff.  They gathered grass clippings and created a bird nest (which Griffin is certain a mother bird will gladly use).  Nora played an instrument she made out of a plastic bottle and some rubber bands.  They discovered a dead branch hanging down from the tree, and they tried to pull it off.  When the tree branch wouldn't budge, they decided to swing from it!

And it hit me:  this is Summer.

I found it.  It's my children spending time together, being carefree, using their imaginations and their own logic and problem-solving skills.  It's running from a bee and standing still to watch a butterfly.  It's making up a game that turns into another activity.  It's Nora's hair blowing behind her as she runs to catch up to the boys to do whatever they do.  It's Griffin talking without any apprehension of how people will respond to him.  It's Nolan leading the pack, keeping everyone safe while also being the first to try something potentially dangerous.

I knew we had it.  We just had to find it.


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