Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Summer Swell

It’s summer at the Box House. Before my kids were in school, the year lolloped along aimlessly with no real definition to our days. Summer was just an incredibly hot version of our lives, more of a hassle than anything else. Longer days made for more troublesome bedtimes. Higher temperatures had our 100 year old house sweating it out in agony, with only one window unit air conditioner to cool three rooms. When October rolled around I thanked the gods of reds and golds, azure skies, and open windows. The white hot heat of summer was something to be endured.

Now, with the kids in school, our year is vastly different. After nine long, cold months of searching for shoes and bookbags, packing lunches, homework, class parties and portraits, summer is what keeps us going. Ashton and Chloe got out of school two weeks ago, and our real life began. Atleigh finally- FINALLY- could stop asking every morning when Sissy was coming home. Ashton could finally- FINALLY- stop whining about school ruining his “staying up late nights”. The Box House heaved a huge sigh of relief, kicked off our socks and wiggled our winter white toes.

Now, at long last, summer is what it should be. Long days are lived to the fullest. Sidewalk chalk and garden hoses. Flip flop tan lines. Tank tops and sundresses. Vegetables from the garden. Nights are even better. Camping out on the living room floor watching movies. Counting fireflies as they make their way across our yard. Cold drinks sweating in your hot hand as you sit on the front step listening to the crickets.

The best part about summer is the smells. Sunblock, sunshine and sweat. Honeysuckle, cut grass, charcoal grills. Salt water, chlorine, pool floaties. The sharp tang of ozone right before a freak thunderstorm. Laundry detergent from the endless dirty shirts and shorts. And the clean, warm smell of the kids fresh from the bath, their cool skin pressed up against me, their wet hair against my cheek as we cuddle on the couch. And the sounds! Crickets chirping. The Beach Boys, James Taylor, Frank Sinatra; Phineas and Ferb marathons, Jeremy plucking his guitar, the kids laughing and screaming, dogs barking. How could I have missed all of this before? The answer is simple- I closed my eyes to the life I could be living. So summer is hot- So what? So there’s no regular bedtime- Even better.

If I can learn one lesson from summer, it should be that days may be long, but life is short. One day, sooner than I can imagine, my kids will be grown. There will be no more dirty toes curled up next to me on the couch. No more freckled, sweaty faces looking earnestly up into mine as they show me their latest leaf or feather. The days will slip by me, one after the other, endless, long days that turn out to be not so long after all. Summer, more than anything, should lend us perspective to last us the rest of the year. Something to remember; something to look forward to. Something to teach us to slow down, breathe a little more deeply.

There are dips and swells throughout life. Summer is definitely a swell. A time of fullness we can’t hold in our arms. A time to float along with the tide, making memories and dreaming dreams. Take pictures. Sing loudly. Try new recipes. Sit in front of a fan and talk in Transformer voices. Eat outside. Walk barefoot.

Make your summer as swell as you possibly can.


To see how swell my summer is in pictures, you can follow me on Instagram: @mbsmoot (that's me) and @ms2photo (that's my photography).

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