The older my children get, the more lovely my days become.
They are at an age now where they have some independence and self-sufficiency. It leaves a bit more space for me, and I'm truly enjoying interacting with them.
It has been a simply lovely summer. Probably the best one I've ever had. It seems like every summer the last few years has been better than the one before. We had a couple of really rough summers during some rocky times, so in comparison we have redeemed our summer experiences completely. With that baseline, it is so easy to enjoy these floating, harmonious, fun hours that blend together under the haze of heat and sunshine.
When I was a child, summers were okay, but often boring. I liked school so being out of it wasn't a big plus for me. Swimming was nice, and ice cream, the occasional dinners at a friend's house, and playing for hours but overall, summer was just okay. I always sensed that there could be so much more to it!
Then as a teacher, I'd have to say that I wasted my summers. Back before my own kids came along, I hated the end of school. I love to work, and I love having routines, and I love structure and challenge. I love being around lots of people. School had that, and summer didn't. I almost always volunteered to teach summer school, and I even ran free writing workshops for talented youth just so that I would have something to keep me occupied.
Now, I look back and I don't get it. We were two free adults with income! We could have been traveling; I could have been writing!! But we weren't so into those things back then, and I for sure was more stuck in the little box of not really knowing who I could be. Oh well.
But, now... Now... summer is FABULOUS. I adore the break from school schedules and homework and lunches and laundry. I adore that our family can choose whatever we want to do with our days. I adore that we have the luxury of time, so much time to spend together, really the most precious commodity of them all, and one that never loses its luster.
I'm starting to look forward now to Autumn, by far my favorite season. I know that after this break, I'll actually enjoy the uptick in daily tasks, the hustle and bustle of books and backpacks and lunches. The seasonal changes - blackberries, then pears, apples, then persimmons. Pumpkins and cornstalks and autumn leaves drifting in a gray sky.
Sometimes I worry that I'll be lonely. After so much time constantly surrounded by others, I worry what I'll do with myself. And then I laugh at such silliness. For one thing, I am constantly busy and if I find myself with an hour to feel lonely and unmoored, I should treasure it. Second, I am constantly surrounded by friends. Almost too much so. It's much more my experience that my writing or work gets interrupted by a phone call or visit then that I have no one to talk to. I'll see good friends every morning and every afternoon at school pickups and more days than not, kids and adults will come to visit and play at our house. More days than not I'll have coffee or lunch with someone. So, third, when I worry about lonely, I remember all that. And I remember something else.
I like Lonely. I love being alone. Free to think my thoughts, free to get things done, following my own schedule only. Aahhh, heaven. And most of all, free to sit uninterrupted with myself and write.
Oh, yes, summer is most excellent, and I am happy to anticipate Autumn as well. Just as it should be.