School is just around the corner, the leaves in our corner of the world are starting to turn and the comfort of routines is needed.
But before the crockpot is brought out for simple suppers of soup and before we overwhelm the sharpener with our need for freshly sharpened pencils, indulge me while reflect on this summer.
This whole year I've been thinking about transitions and seasons as we are moving into a new season with our kids. I no longer have little kids, I have a teen, a tween and a seven year old. Our summer calendar and activities reflected that. In summers past, we've loaded up with snacks and sand toys and spent hours at the beach. This year, we didn't do that hardly at all. We found a new river swimming spot and swung off the rope swing all together for hours. We hiked all together, the kids taking turns to carry the backpack of lunch and water bottles. Well, the seven year old still needed encouragement via skittles every half hour for the first bit of the hike.
More then any one event or experience, I often think on what a season feels like or what I want it to feel like. It's so easy to get caught up in the tyranny of the urgent and I fully admit to being a little on the busy side this summer. I like to ask what is the essence of summer? It's my way of slowing down and being present.
Playing: badminton and bananagrams. Our yard isn't well set up for any kind of yard games due to there being no flat space but we re-discovered badminton this year and it become a perfect after supper, golden hour game to play together. No net, no problem. The weather was all over the place the last few months and so on the (many) rainy mornings we'd make cups of tea and challenge each other at bananagrams, a new to us game.
Listening: Burn the Ships and Joy both by For King and Country will always make me think of this summer and driving with my kids. I love seeing which songs make it for the most played of each season.
Drinking: endless homemade sodas and kombucha. I made a rhubarb simple syrup and a ginger-lime syrup which we added to tonic water for a refreshing, pretty drink. Occasionally I added some gin for a summery G&T. We all sipped and voted on our favourite flavour of my husband's homemade kombucha.
Gardening: the kids each had a garden bed this year and I delighted in their care and nurture of their plants. Each year, I learn a little more about gardening and while I don't think it will ever be a passion project of mine, I love planting seeds and watching them explode into growth in August after despairing of any fruit in early July. I'm sure there's a good metaphor in there for life. This year, I'm most proud of all my flowers and the gorgeous purple turnips.
Reading: I read widely as per usual and thoroughly enjoyed my mostly offline July. Some stand out titles (because I always want to know what others are reading): The Life Council: 10 friends every woman needs by Laura Tremaine - I listened to this one on audio and highly recommend it. She address so many common issues and relationship hang ups while identifying the work of maintaining friendships. I loved this book and I need all my friends to read it so we can discuss it. Life in Five Senses by Gretchen Rubin- I've read pretty much everything she's written and this one was such a hit for me. As someone who can tend to live in a very introspective manner, I appreciated her candor and intentionally living with all of our senses. Plus any mention of art and New York City will have my interest. A new Daniel Silva book always feels like summer to me and his latest did not disappoint.
Connecting: this summer was so busy and so full. Maybe a little too busy for comfort, if I'm being honest. But we got to connect with friends a lot over the last few months. New-ish friends who jumped on board with me to make a point of meeting up on a weekly basis for an adventure. Old friends who have known me for twenty years. I can't describe the wealth of conversations that jump from current parenting teenagers together to remembering our own teenage years together. My TBR list grew through every one of these conversations and I'm so grateful for friends who change and grow through the years with me. I also felt I lived Laura Tremaine's book through each of my friendship connections.
Family: we got to see a lot of both sides of our family this year and that's a gift I don't take for granted. From Mosher Camp where we gathered (all 40+ of us) for a weekend to meetups during the summer for water play and birthdays to my brother's wedding, I'm thankful for new memories being made and relationships deepening by making the time to intentionally invest in them.
Cooking: my kids cooked so much this summer! We started off with a focus on cooking independently this summer and I'm blown away by their creativity and growth in this area. From weekly dinners to putting dinner together while camping, all three of our children grew a lot in this area and it is so wonderful to be at this stage with them.
Summer 2023, you were full and busy and not without your hard and confusing parts. Thanks for the memories and the new skills. Now onto Autumn!