Summer has arrived.
Well, perhaps not by the calendar date, but for all intents and purposes, it is summer.
The school year has come to a close. Days are growing longer and bedtime begs for just ten more minutes.
And sure enough, it is the time of year for playing outside long after dinnertime, for taking walks as the sun sets, for staying up late and not worrying about whether we will be too tired tomorrow.
It is yellow. Sunshine, daisies, and buttercups fill lazy afternoons. Pitchers of lemonade stand at the ready to cool our throats when we come inside after hours of chasing fairies and fireflies.
It is green. Grass and trees have come back to life after sleeping under their fluffy white blankets all winter. It is orange, pink, and purple. Flowers and pinwheels and kites explode onto the scene and play against a backdrop of clear, endless blue.
It is red, white, and blue and every color of celebration. Fireworks and sparklers light up the sticky summer nights. Portable movie screens pop up in community parks where we gather to run and play and sit under the stars to watch our favorite films.
Summer is the vibrant color and taste of fresh fruits and vegetables, straight from the garden and farm. It is thunderstorms and moonlit mid-summer nights. It is the feel of warm breezes teasing curtains into motion, entering bedrooms to cool sticky arms and cheeks at night.
These are the weeks of sleeping in when we like, of unstructured days and unplanned day trips, and forgetting just exactly what day it is…
Summer is easy living and endless moments.
This – all of this – is the summer I love to savor.
Yet in between these delicious moments lies distaste.
Heat, humidity, sunburn and bugs…all of these things are summer as well.
In between the delicious moments lurks anxiety.
The close of the school year means children come home and parents wonder how to make this all work. If we work from home, our space and routine is instantly violated with the ringing of the final dismissal bell. If we work away from home, our children need somewhere to go, someone to be with them while we are gone? How do we balance the beauty of long, unstructured freedom with obligations and deadlines that do not slow to summer’s pace? How do we make certain that our children have the most wonderful experiences, get our time and attention, and still keep our work hours? Still keep our sanity?
What if the bugs bite and the sun burns us? What if we are hot and sticky and uncomfortable?
As with all things in parenting – and in life – the answers do not come easy. Each morning we wake to see pairs of eager eyes looking to us and asking, where will we go, what will we do, and how will we spend our days?
The answers are as varied as our individual circumstances, as numerous as the children who expect that we will know. There is no right; there is no wrong.
There is only now. Only summer.
And perhaps the only answer is that we will, indeed, go and do and spend our days living, no matter what that actually means.
Tonight I spent another evening arguing with my Daughter about appropriate summer bedtimes, the speed (or lack of) with which she brushes her teeth, how much I need to accomplish and how little time there is…
I told my Husband – or myself perhaps – for the hundredth time that I feel ill-prepared for the days and weeks ahead. That I worry about failing as a writer, failing as a mother, failing at keeping the pace, failing at making summer something wonder-filled and spectacular…
And as I sit here now listening to my daughter’s (finally) quiet breath over the monitor, I realize the only way I fail is by failing to try. I fail her and myself if I do not teach her that while life is hard and balance seems elusive, we must always continue to try. We must always continue to go and to do and to spend our days living as earnestly and fully as we possibly can. For like the days of summer, our own days are far too few in number.
What matters is that we embrace each moment, that we make each moment count. That we savor the beauty, accept the distaste, and manage the anxiety.
What matters is that we go and do and live – whatever that actually means for each one of us – so that when autumn draws near, we can say farewell to summer knowing that we have spent our days well.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence prompt is “The things I love and hate about summer…” Finish the Sentence Friday is hosted, as always, by the lovely Kristi of Finding Ninee. FINISH THE SENTENCE FRIDAY is a link-up that enables writers and bloggers to share their ideas based on a particular sentence. To stay ahead of future sentences and participate, join our FACEBOOK GROUP!