I’m creating a vision of what I want this summer, and it goes a little like this
Happy Memorial Day from hello bliss. Thank you to all the service men and women who defend our freedom, especially those who have given the ultimate sacrifice–their lives–in that service. We are ever grateful to you.
For me, Memorial Day is the gateway to summer. It’s that first threshold where grill-outs and impromptu picnics cross our minds, and the whole of summer is beckoning before us. The weather is starting to warm in that perfect spring-meets-summer concoction, and we pull our flips flops from the dark corners of the closet and happily slip them back on as if we had never tragically parted in the chilly depths of October. All too soon, the wool socks and bulky boots and cold mornings will return, but before they do, I vow to enjoy (almost) every single, sultry moment of this summertime.
Every summer starts this way, with grandiose and overly-romanticized visions of pool outings, vacations seeping with family memories, and cookouts where the laughter echoes for hours after the party ends. And then reality sets in: your kid poops in the pool or has a tantrum that echoes for hours after the pool party ends. Too much quality family time on vacation begins to make you question why you ever decided to marry and birth these alien children. Inevitably, three weeks into summer, the kids start the singsong battle cry that makes parents cringe and reach for a double gin and tonic: “I’m bored. What can I do?”
In truth, I know this summer will be no different. I know there will be picturesque lazy days and pull-my-hair-out-thank-God-I-get-to-go-to work crazy days. But in my quest to live a more spiritual and meaningful life, I want to squeeze all the joy I possibly can out of this summer. Accordingly, I’m creating a vision of what I want this summer, and it goes a little like this…
Bring me your strawberries and watermelons and perfect tomatoes! I want to eat sweet corn and tomato pie for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I want to go to the neighborhood pool at dusk and splash happily with my kids (but please, don’t get my hair wet). And when the kids get my hair wet (as they always do), I will find patience in the setting sun and the knowledge that bedtime is on the horizon.
I want to sit on the porch and practice doing nothing but listening to the breeze. I want to wholeheartedly embrace the slower pace and help my kids to understand they don’t always have to go-go-go and do-do-do. The beauty of summer is that melt-in-your-mouth slow pace, part lounging and part playing your heart out.
I want to go to the beach and put my toes in the velvety sand and thank the stars that I live in such a beautiful place. I’ll watch my kids giggle in the surf and build lopsided sand castles decorated with carefully-selected sea shells. And when the tide washes the castles away, I’ll dry their tears and soothe them with the magical powers of Goldfish. If the tears turn to inconsolable howls, then we’ll pack up and I’ll breathe and breathe (until I’m basically hyperventilating), and I’ll remind myself that life is good.
I want to soak up the sun and revel in its gorgeous, all-consuming warmth. When the sweat is snaking down my back and I’m holding a beach bag, 3 pairs of shoes, 2 water bottles, a cooler, and 2 beach chairs, I’ll trudge through the sand and be grateful for the two good legs and two good arms that carry me everywhere and rarely complain. And when the heat turns to a sizzle, I’ll go inside and bask in the miracle of air conditioning.
This summer, I want to surround myself and my children with good people who ooze kindness and smiles, the kind of people who find beauty everywhere. Then, we can sit, with watermelon martinis, and be in awe of the colors in the sky right after the sun sets. We can focus on the good and attract more good until there is a virtual goodness explosion. KER-BOOM!
Summer, I remember you from my own childhood, chasing fireflies and running barefoot through grassy backyards with my pack of neighborhood friends (shout out to the “Scooby Doo Club”). My memories are simple: carefree bike rides, championship games of hide-and-seek and freeze tag at twilight. Summer is that childhood feeling of freedom and abandon, each day stretching before you in all its slow-tempo, sweltering splendor. Likewise, the memories that we make this summer will be the simple experiences that we share, the mini-adventures where the unexpected happens and laughter (or disaster) ensues. Of course, it won’t be perfect. Nothing ever is. But it will be good.
As we embark on another summer, here is my wish for myself and for you. May we find beauty and patience when we need it most, may we enjoy the unending blessing of our friends and family, and may we find peace and wonder in slowing our pace.