One of the posts I've been meaning to write since June would be called My Love-Hate Relationship with Summer. And then I'd go on to detail the joys of this time with our kids–Penny and William learning to swim, dancing at the town concert for the fourth of July, watching the sun set over the marsh, giggling with Marilee as she sprinkles my toes with water, eating local tomatoes, the streaks of summer sunshine in our hair... But I would also details the disappointments of summer–the work I haven't done on a new big project (more on that soon, I hope!), William's melt-downs as our schedule becomes unpredictable, Penny's refusal to listen to me at some point of every day, Marilee's whining, the constant juggling act with Peter in which we each try to pretend we aren't keeping track of how much child care/ resting/ household work we've each one, the sticky still air in the midst of a heat wave, the fruit flies...
But back to the love/hate relationship–I think I'm settling into the love part. And it surprises me. Sure, William is doing better with the transitions, and the heat broke, and Peter put the kids to bed last night so I could have dinner with a friend, and I just sat with Marilee asleep and Penny and William on either side and read them the final chapter of The Trumpet of the Swan, which just might be my favorite children's chapter book ever. But I think, I hope, that there's also something the Spirit is doing within me that is allowing me to enjoy my kids, to be grateful for all the gifts I've been given, to let go of the need to produce and achieve and move forward all the time.
I had been planning to take one week away from blogging, but August stretched out in front of me, and I realized how much I longed to step away from the news cycle, the comment cycle (wow–July was brutal with accusations here!), the emails and texts and messages. And how much I longed to step towards some longer writing projects, and towards walks on the beach and learning to ride bikes and trips to the farmer's market.
So I will be returning to this blog the day after Labor Day, when all three kids are back to school.
In the meantime, I'm hoping to read Wendell Berry's The Hidden Wound, RJ Palacios' Wonder, Tim Keller's The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, and Tayie Selasi's Ghana Must Go. I'm planning to enjoy grilled sweet potato salad and chunky summer gazpacho (as you know, this is nowhere near a cooking blog, but here's one recipe you've got to try. Just cut things into chunks unless otherwise indicated and put it all together):
2 large tomatoes, 2 peeled cucumbers, 2 bell peppers, 4 ears corn on the cob (I usually just cook extra the night before then cut it off the cob), 2 cups black beans, 1/4 cup diced red onion, 2 cups tomato juice, juice of 2 limes, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup cilantro, Tabasco, salt, and pepper to taste, and add chopped avocado once you serve it...
And I'm planning to hug these kiddos of mine a lot.
With great thanks that I think I might be learning to love the summer.