Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Summer of 2016

The calendar says summer isn't quite over, but you can feel it in the air.  Our commitment free days are dwindling just as the sun is setting a little earlier than the night before.  I had lists of things I wanted to do; getting the kids on a summer schedule, keeping up with homework so they wouldn't suffer the dreaded "summer learning loss," and having them proficient at swimming before summers end.  I dreamt of a long road trip west, soaking up thin mountain air at 12,000ft.  Those lists have long since blown out the window of our SUV as we forged new paths, straying from my lists at each bend in the road.

This summer the dark storm clouds rolled across our farm frequently enough that grass still grows faster than we can mow and the new trees have only required us to water them once.  The booms of thunder can be used as the soundtrack to our days, accompanied by the sound of wind rushing through the cornfield.  We were reminded that nature's music is more peaceful and beautiful than anything we could stream on Pandora.

Between the cracks of the thunder and bright zigzags of lightening, we stood knee deep in ice cold water, pumped straight from the well into the blue plastic kiddie pool.  Inside the chilly water streams of watermelon juice could be seen flowing down the arms and legs of the kids as they ate the juicy goodness in a spot that wouldn't require me to clean up after them.  They might not have learned the backstroke, but belly laughs and contagious giggles happened frequently

Just like summer nights spent during my childhood, the fireflies were faithful about lighting up the fields as the sun bid us farewell.  Poking holes in the lids of Ball jars, the kids raced around the yard yelling in delight and a slight bit of panic as they'd catch a bug.  I swear fireflies have gotten trickier about being caught or I've lost my ability at being an adequate bug catcher.  I don't remember it being this difficult.

We slept in most mornings and leisurely enjoyed our bowls of cereal and mugs of milk.  We made trips to the library to visit the staff and find new books to keep us entertained.  We spent lazy hours rocking in our hammock and wore our sidewalk chalk crayons down to nubs.  We snacked in the garden and at the blackberry bushes, eating tasty fruit and just a few bugs.  We didn't work on our homework with pens and paper, but we wrote our names and drew pictures on the sidewalk in bright chalky colors.

This summer wasn't at all what I had planned...but I wish you could have seen the kid's faces when presented with something as simple as an ice pop on a hot day.  I wish you could have seen how wide smiles go as they are loaded up in the jeep and driven down the gravel county roads.  It was time spent with friends and nights spent in the camper.  It was a sibling relationship that grew deeper and stronger.  It was time spent with our kids that can never be duplicated and forever stored in our memory banks.

No, this summer wasn't at all what I had planned.  It was better.  There was no grand trip or life altering event.  It was simple.  It was ordinary.  It was pure magic to our 2 and 4 year old.  Now, to enjoy these final weeks and plan a fall trip (fingers crossed) to those mountains.