A Really S-L-O-W Summer

I’m feeling something I haven’t felt in years: the huge relief of a slow, summer day. Honestly, it makes me a bit weepy.

At the moment, my two older kids are traveling (England) and working (grounds maintenance) and the younger two are in school until June 23rd (have to admit…it’s lovely quiet!) Graduation has occurred, the class I teach is finished, and I’m feeling a lightness while taking deep breaths. And there’s that weepy thing.

This summer is needfully slow.

Two years ago we were gearing up for Europe, It was a most wonderful experience but not exactly relaxing.

Last year at this time I was sitting at my desk when my husband came home and said, “I got a phone call – want to come to the hospital with me?” We had no idea how serious it was. In fact I was a bit annoyed to be interrupted from working, to waste a trip to the hospital because surely Heather was fine and would not like all this fuss.

But Heather died. And two weeks later, Cassie left us.

It was not the summer we were expecting. I didn’t really get to my “Design Your Summer:”

Last year’s plan that went awry

You know, so much happens in a year. Life changes very very quickly. “The best laid plans of mice and men…”

Two homes were combined. We sold a gazillion things. We acquired stuff that holds a lot of years and memories. Dearest Arthur (my most wonderful father-in-law) came to live with us. My study became his room. Nelson’s room became my study. The awful basement became – a livable gathering place – and yes, Nelson has a room!

The basement last August. Nelson and Cope slept in random places for three months.

It’s been a hard year emotionally, but we did more than survive. We are good. We are doing really well (and hallelujah it’s behind us.)

And now it’s truly summer.

Because I am taking our Cope out to college in late August we are not taking our usual western trek across the United States. My children, Brynne and Paige especially, are salty about this, quite aghast, fearing I’ll make them do nothing but clean(!)

Besides one week of camp for Brynne and Nelson, we don’t have any other camps or lessons on the schedule. We have two shorter family trips planned: an ocean excursion and Acadia/Prince Edward Island.

I have goals (well, of course I do) that include:

Home and Yard:

Purge the house. The excitement I feel rivals my love of hair products. Yes, it’s that deep. I have a notebook with many notes. I’ve heard of the “40 bags in 40 days challenge” and might try that. I also have projects that need much attention like a huge garage clean-out. This year I’ve decided to pay the kids to help with huge jobs like this. Win-Win.

Yard: Tree trimming and weeding. The garden was a sad, neglected mess last summer. This summer the tomatoes are in and the peas, carrots, and lettuce is growing. Bliss. 

Reading and Writing:

Reading: I have a stack of books on the bedside table. Yea! At the moment: THE INVENTION OF WINGS by Sue Monk Kidd (love it) and next up: HOURGLASS by Dani Shapiro (can’t wait!) For the girls: an hour of reading everyday – they like this plan! Maybe some math facts thrown in.

Writing: I’m working on a new novel and vow to have my really crappy first draft done by June 23rd, the last day of school! I work on it for a minimum of two hours of day, setting my buzzer and doing it as early in the day as possible. First drafts are the worst (for me, anyway). Plow through the self-doubt. Get the words on the page!

Exercise:

I feel so much better when I take care of myself (duh). Luckily, I have running and soccer buddies who make me move. Today, Maryn got me out for 5 a.m. intervals (horror!) while the sun was just coming up and guess what? Fabulous. Done by 6. Nap at 1 🙂 Lovely! Also, my upper body is getting soft and flabby. I’ve got a little routine I need to get back at.

Running! Need shoe ideas? I’ve got them 🙂

Soccer with my peeps!

Also planned: a short, daily soccer training plan for Brynne and Paige and daily excursions to our local lake. 

Trip Tuesday:

Really it’s just me, Brynne, and Paige, which is more manageable to think about. Kindof stinks to grow up and have to work. So before that happens they are going to play mini-golf with me. Or hike mountains, or pick strawberries and blueberries, or see things in New Hampshire we’ve never seen.

I plan on making a daily list for the girls that I can laminate next to their beds that includes: scriptures, prayer, make bed, ukulele or piano, tidy room, exercise, reading, summer chore. When it’s done, it’s free time! This will likely include dressing up in heels and a costume to frolick the yard with Tenny (dog), a little show to watch, and LOTS of cousin time (because the cousins are MOVING HERE!) This shall be followed by mandatory eating of lots of watermelon.

Summer Meal Planning:

One cannot eat cereal for every meal. Or maybe we can…the meal plan is something I’ve got to get a handle on. Ideas?

Of course, as slow as I want it, the days are still busy with chores and cooking and driving kids here and there, like driver’s ed three days a week for Nelson and driving him to work every morning at 6:50. There will be orthodontist and dental appointments, and a family reunion, BUT this summer feels different than last (because IT IS different!) and it’s a glorious thing.

Yes, much changes in a year. It changes over the years, too. It used to be I was actively seeking for THINGS TO DO! What could keep my kids busy? Because being in the house all day with four kids was long and torturous – they got bored, hot, cranky, and were prone to annoy me and each other. I did not feel the same glee as I do today.

But it’s a new stage of life and today it’s SLOW and wonderful.

What about you? Summer plans?

Yahoo! Happy summer to you!

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