The transition from the school year into summer has always been difficult for me as a mom. The fact that I stay home and am a former teacher only enhances the difficulty. I start thinking about it in early May and begin to hyperventilate. This is my golden opportunity. I must orchestrate every moment to be an optimum experience. Each one should be stimulating, whether physically or intellectually, with a perfect balance between the two. I imagine all the ways we will grow closer as a family, frolicking in the summer sun. We will be the quintessential picture of the lazy days of summer and by golly, we will work hard at painting that perfect lazy picture.
The first few weeks, I am miserable. I have obviously set unrealistic goals and it takes several weeks of reality, served in healthy doses by my children, for me to surrender. Somehow, eventually, I am able to find the perfect summer amid the imperfections. I swim upstream long enough to wear myself out then before I know it, I am floating along with the current and the ride becomes easy and pleasant. That is where I am now, floating along. We have settled into a routine of non-routine. Later mornings and later evenings. More mess around the house. My breathing has returned to normal.
Two favorite activities we have managed to incorporate are baking and reading. The baking was sparked by Sam going to camp in Rhode Island for a few weeks and our visit to a friend's blueberry farm. With my nut allergic son out of the house and fresh blueberries in hand, I was inspired. We made blueberry coffee cake sprinkled with nuts and chocolate chip cookies with pecans. What a treat! I am reading Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder aloud to William and Annie. It has sparked fun discussions about how things have changed such as farming, food preparation and education yet some things remain the same. Almanzo, the main charcter, fights with his siblings and gets just as excited about Christmas.
We got to spend a week at the beach with Mark's entire family, including the newest addition, Jack (his brother Kale's five-month-old). We spent some time with friends at their lake house in Franklinton which allows our city-slicker kids to go crazy with jet-skis, four-wheelers, fireworks and such. I teased that surely the evening would end with the kids being allowed to run around the edge of the lake with knives and scissors. I try to be calm but it is a little stressful for this mom. We enjoyed being on the swim team at our club and we went to THREE weddings. That about sums up the summer until now.
As I write this, life is EASY! We only have three kids. Sam is still in Rhode Island and Mary Elizabeth is in Dallas visiting my sister. This week, at one point, our family will be in five different states. Obviously, Rhode Island and Texas, as well as Mark being in DC. William and Elise will stay in Louisiana while Anne and I go with my mother-in-law to get Sam. We are hoping to make stops in DC and NYC and maybe even fit in a day in Nantucket. Whew! By the time we are all home again, July will practically be over. Once August starts, we will be sliding in to home plate and summer is done.
Then it will be time to hyperventilate about the new school year, which we will be starting in New Orleans. Oh, sorry, been meaning to mention, we are staying put for now. In changing our minds, we are keeping things the same. For now, amid all the imperfections, this is the perfect place to be!