It is Friday and another summer week has flown by. As I type, a half-drunk mug of tea sits besides me, thunder rumbles low in the distance while rain patters on outside. In all my grumbling about summer, the heat, and how deflated it makes me feel, I am reminded of the many things I do really cherish about summer. There are few things as lovely as a summer storm in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I treasure their almost-daily predictability and the coziness and reprieve they lend to the hot days. I am grateful for the produce of the garden, though it has reached the unruly stage where I feel like a gardening failure every time I step foot in it. It’s only because I can’t keep up with it and manage it perfectly, but really, is that what defines a good gardener? Perfection? Hardly. We are still harvesting good food for our table with enough to share, and that is a blessing and a sweetness I always miss come cooler weather. I savor the long bright days where children can play well after dinner outside and we can enjoy late walks in the cool of the day. I’m especially grateful for the shift in our schedule, the setting aside of our formal school work and the embracing of the quieter rhythm of learning by inspiration. My mind so needs the break from the churn of teaching, planning, executing, analyzing, and the children do also. Lately they’ve been “playing school” and admitting that they are missing it, and it’s always important for them to experience that, I think. I was reminded at a homeschool conference I attended recently that our brains are able to receive and connect concepts best in our REST. Over the summer our little children’s minds are marinating the concepts we have taught. So many concepts click and seem far easier when we pick up our school books again come Fall.
So, those are some of the really wonderful enjoyable parts of summer. Picnics on the parkway, muggy hikes, the way we cherish a breeze. Pool visits weekly, farmers markets. So many things really, why do I complain? But the truth remains that I am a winter girl through and through, and the best part of summer is the anticipating of fall, the turn, the cozy evenings, the camping, the daily fires, the hot stews and soups, the opening of school books, and all such loveliness. I feel more inspired/creative in those seasons, more myself.
I don’t often enroll my children in activities mostly because of cost and secondly because of my own need to keep a simple and open schedule. I am content to keep our running around to a minimum. However, as our children grow, they need all sorts of experience and enrichment, don’t they? We mothers will stretch ourselves so far and wide for these little ones we love so much. So this summer has been busier with activity than normal, and that has been good. I am feeling the adjustment of children who are getting older and needing different things, outlets and experiences beyond what I can provide at home. And I do believe we will be introducing more activity this fall, though I will still fight to keep it simple and manageable for myself.
Phoebe spent last week in Drama Camp and finished the week performing in her very first play. It was truly so special. She is much braver than her mom! She played the part of “the farmer” in “Deer Mouse Vs. The World.” When she was ready to say her first line on stage, she took a big breath with a grin on her face like for a second she was overwhelmed with joy, nerves and excitement. I held my breath, too, wondering if she would freeze or forget her lines, but she dove right in and did such a great job. I am so proud of her and marvel at the way she is changing, growing up, transforming right before my eyes. I can’t help but miss the little Phoebe she used to be but also feel so much joy and excitement about the stage we are in and what lies just ahead of us. Motherhood stretches us in incredible ways, doesn’t it? Always, this capacity to increase, to rise to the next challenge, to expand and make more room, to go farther than we thought we could. Always, this holding of our breath as our child takes a new “first step” and we watch them soar.