Sunday, July 30, 2023

Snapshots of Summer

I lay on the grass in the backyard the in the shade of the pecan tree. The baby sat across from me, her grin causing dimples to form on the edge of her mouth, her two top teeth gleaming like a rabbit’s. Her gentle rolls of fat cascaded down to her cloth diaper, and we rested, blissful. I thought about how, if I had a camera in my hand, this would be the perfect chance to snap a picture. But, my hands were empty. So, I lay there on the grass with her and just let myself enjoy the moment. Perhaps it is a good thing, after all, that I didn’t have a camera on hand—because I have this memory, this moment in time, unsullied by technology. Just the two of us in the backyard on a summer afternoon.

My oldest found this awesome mushroom next to our house. 
It was so cool!

I have a million ideas for books and blog posts. I have a couple other creative projects I want to work on. I am craving adventure and want to explore the world (or, at least, the state).

I also want to stay put in our own little spot of Oklahoma and pick up too many holds from the library shelf and wonder how I will ever read them all.

So far, this summer, the second option is winning.

I was looking through recent photos to see what, exactly, we’ve done this summer. I discovered that I haven’t taken many photos—partially because I’m often holding a baby or reading a book, and partially because the kids and I get too involved in whatever we’re doing to even think about photo ops.

Earlier this month, someone asked me how summer was going. I told her that summer seems to involve different waves that roll in and carry us through the days. There was the initial wave, when we tried to see as many friends as possible before they all left for summer trips, and before we began swim lessons. There was the next wave, when the only things on our schedule were swim lessons and daily Mass. That was the month when I realized (as I do every summer) that homeschooling is the right option for us right now, because I cannot imagine driving kids to school every day—just one month of driving to nearby swim lessons is exhausting! After that, we reached the final wave of summer: where some daily Masses and sporadic activities dot the calendar, but we mostly soak up the air conditioning as we read countless books and enjoy a super-slow pace of life at home.

It's been a beautiful season, and I’m grateful for the memories that we’ve captured as a family so far. 

I continue to be grateful that we can spend so much time
at the Blessed Stanley Rother shrine. It's such a gift in our lives!

Summer has sounded like my toddler’s huge belly laughs when we play hand-clapping games, as she throws her smiling face backward, golden curls bouncing.

Summer has smelled like mug after mug of steaming coffee or English Breakfast tea, as I muster energy to care for my delightful, high-energy young children each day.  

Summer has tasted like the tangy sweetness of blueberry tarts “just because,” and fluffy donuts for Name Days.

Summer has felt like the silky-soft clover when I’m daring enough to step outside, carefully avoiding the bees as they work.

Summer has looked like marble tracks and daily Masses and towering piles of library books and kids playing on playgrounds and running through splashpads.

We did manage to take a day trip to a children's museum in another town
with a friend from church, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!

In the edges of the days, I’ve begun working on a book rewrite and have already received some good criticisms as I improve it. I’ve begun piecing together other creative writing projects, too. Overall, though, this has been a summer of rest as our family continues to craft a slower life. I don’t know what the rest of this summer will hold (aside from a bunch of family birthday!), and I certainly don’t know what future summers will look like. So, I’m grateful for this time of rest. I’m grateful for all of the mental snapshots that have formed cherished memories in my mind.

Thanks be to God for the joy of peace, rest, and summertime. 

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