This summer has been a strange one. It’s been really, really long for starters, perhaps because the kids didn’t have to make up any snow days this year simply because we didn’t have any snow for school to be canceled. We didn’t really have any winter at all. Not that I’m complaining–I was able to get out and run my long runs and take my photo adventures around Northwest Arkansas without having to worry about icy roads to slip slide around on. And at this point in the summer when it’s hotter than the surface of the sun, Winter sounds delicious.
Although today we FINALLY had an afternoon long thunderstorm, dropping the temperature from 99 degrees to 70 degrees in 10 minutes.
It was wonderful, and caused Joey to shiver when he went for his afternoon bike ride. He also didn’t recognize the thunder rolling in the distance at the start of today’s storm.
It’s been awhile since we had a good old-fashioned thunderstorm.
This summer has been a learning summer. I’ve had to learn how to read the kids’ take on summer and lower my expectations of summer. No longer are they kids that I would take to the pool for long afternoons of splashing and games of “Swim-Around-The-Rosie”. They’re really too big for the park, I suppose, although they make a beeline for the swings when we do go, seeing who can swing the highest (I’m proud of Joey’s efforts for finally mastering the Art of Swinging. It took him a long, long time to figure out how to pump with his legs while at the same time pulling with his arms. And teaching someone to swing is actually quite hard, but now he can pump and pull with the best of us). The kids instead spent their summer growing more and more away from Little Kid Hood and growing more and more into Middle Kid Hood, with Meghan skipping that stage completely and growing into Big Kid Hood. I’m not sure how to entertain these types of kids, making it up as I go and hoping for the best. We’ve all done our own things this summer, which is sad to me because I love it when we all get together to explore some new place or even just gather around the kitchen table to eat lunch. Meghan is usually off with her friends and Joey is deep into video making and editing, his buddies in and out of our house on regular basis. He’s also coming into his own, shooting up like a weed (David measured us last night, back to back, and Joey is a good inch taller than me now), eating all the time and having Growing Pains of his own: periods of quiet and restless pacing around the house, sometimes with tears leaking out his eyes. He’s always been my early bird and Meghan has always been my night owl, but now Joey sleeps till 9:30, 10:00 some mornings, beating his sister by a good 30 minutes.
Meghan has had her own stressors this summer, dealing with Freshman Orientation, financial aid and the agonizing wait to hear where she’ll be living and with whom. She’s had quite the social summer and quite the full summer, and for that I’m grateful–that’s how it should be for a person her age. She needs to learn to grow and become her own person, and her friends are able to support her and help her better than I can now. They are becoming her family now.
Although I do miss terribly that little girl who would crawl into my lap with 10 different books and demand in her little baby voice, “Read!” as she thrust the first book into my hands then leeeeeeean up against me for the next three hours as I read and re-read and re-read those books. Her eyes would take on a far-away gaze as she imagined CousCous or Mrs. Tiggywinkle in their own little worlds and what it would be like to play with them. Now she drives herself to the library and leans up against the pillows on her bed and will read for hours to herself.
There’s been stressful moments, moments where tears were flowing and discussions became heated. Moments where all of us wished for a handbook on getting into college, a handbook telling us what to do at this time of our lives, and someone we could tell, “But we’ve never done this before!” and having them sit down with us and telling us what to do. But we muddled through and somehow came out on the other side with a soon-to-be-going-to-classes-on-campus child. She’s a little scared, a little apprehensive, a lot nervous, but most of all she’s eager and excited to get this show on the road after preparing for it all of last year. She’s beginning to tell her friends good-bye as they leave for schools out-of-state, never knowing when she might see them again. That’s been hard for her. She had a teary-eyed moment the other day while we were school supply shopping, but I hugged it away. She’s on a roller-coaster now, but the ride is soon to be over and the real fun will begin.
But for all those stress filled, pull your hair out moments, there have been moments of sheer hilarity, moments of sighing over the Olympic male swim team, moments full of tickle fights and chasing around the house. Moments of the wonderful sounds of sibling conversations eavesdropped on by two parents in a car’s front seat. Moments of wisdom (“I don’t know if it’s because I’ve just hiked nine miles, but this is the best cheeseburger I’ve ever had!”); moments of quiet.
Moments of being a momma.