It's September 1st. A very portentous sort of day. The air is heavy with late summer, and school is looming.
My big kids are enjoying one last VBS this week, and while they were gone tonight, I realized I had some space. And I wanted to write. But, I was making pizza sauce, so it had to wait till now.
Everyone is in bed except Jolie Noel and me. She is sitting in the old wooden high chair learning how to eat puffs.
For the past few years, I have only blogged when my heart has been so burdened by an idea or topic or issue that I couldn't rest until I had blogged about it. But tonight, I just want to write down some things.
Life is going by quickly. Summer 2015 is winding down and it will not come again.
Joe and I both had an epiphany (a piphy-what?) at the beginning of the summer- mine was that this is the only summer 2015 we're gonna get, and his was that this is the only summer that our kids will be 14, 10, 8, 5, 3, and 0. Cade, for example will not be 8 next summer. This is the summer when he's 8 years old. I'm glad we realized this in June and not on September 1 or I would be feeling quite a bit more melancholy. We spent a lot of time outdoors, and the upstairs is a mess, but we all have tans and memories of more than putting laundry away for weeks on end. Summer 2015 was well spent with lots of VBS and FoodLink and family visits. Brilyn spent the summer learning horsemanship on my horse, Hannah, that I have had since I was 13. Yeah. Life is speeding up and coming around and it feels immense.
This school year is bringing some changes; Ana is coming home from public school for 7th grade, Bri and Cade are heading off to St Paul Lutheran, and Jessup is starting the big K at home. It looks like Arwyn will be going to Preschool twice a week. And I'm hopping back on to MOPS steering. That is a lot of change. No one will be doing what they did last year.
I feel so excited and hopeful about what the school year will bring. But of one thing I can be sure- everyone will change and grow and they will never be in 7th, 5th, 3rd, K, and preschool again. They will never lose those teeth or ask for whatever delights their hearts at Christmas this year again. This is it. This is their life. I say that to Ana all the time. This is your life. Be. Here. Now. How Ram Das of me. I hope I can keep this perspective throughout the school year and keep it slow like I did this summer. We are going to have to put the laundry away, but hopefully we'll also keep saying yes to the little things that make a life.
Granny's for ice cream even though it's late I'm a little sick and I have to judge a big goat show the next day. When will I be back for Granny's? I can't say.
Stopping at Camp Cherith after a long day of judging the Allegany County fair. So tired, but seriously, when will I be driving by there again with my 14 and 10 year old daughters with me to see where I worked the summer when I was 19 and I fell in love with their daddy and ran the horsemanship program? NEVER.
The Hobbit book on tape for Brilyn and me. How can I be sure we'll ever have another chance at that? It's 10 CD's!
One more walk around at the surprise spiritual life retreat in the hills? When we will ever get back?
I am learning to take each little opportunity to live, because I am not guaranteed that I will have the chance again. Before my epiphany, I had a dull sense that it's not that big of a deal to miss out on those little things, there are lots of chances for ice cream and walks and books. But even if those chances do come again, it won't be this summer. Summer 2015 is flying off (headed south, I guess). I might get to go for ice cream in 2016, I might get to read more Tolkien with Brilyn, I might get back to Christ the King in Greenwich, but I might not. And if not, I have these moments I accepted with an open hand. I'm glad.
Jolie is now lying across my lap at the dining room table, just like I used to do across my parents' laps while they played cards at Aunt Connie and Uncle Joey's house. My mom and Uncle Joey are gone from this world. I'm glad my parents let me 'stay up' while they all played cards. Because they are in my memories. They could have put me to bed properly, but then where would my memories be?
I'm relaxing with my kids for this very reason. They sleep in my bed, interrupt my late night ice cream ritual, nudge their way under my arms when I'm praying, and come out and talk my ear off in the barn while I'm milking and I think what I'd really like is quiet.
But this is their life. If they don't sleep in my bed now, they won't ever. If they don't come down for late night talks, snuggle me when I'm trying to pray, and come out to the barn with me now, how can I be sure they ever will?
So, I've slowed down, broken some rules, and kind of chilled out. I still say "SHUT THE DOOR" about 1,000 times a day. The fly phobia is real, and so are maggots. But, when someone says, "can we...?" I am a lot more likely to say yes. Because this is it. This is my life; this is our life. We don't get another Summer 2015 or any other season. We could all have neater drawers and more sleep and eat less leftovers and pizza, (oh my goodness and don't even look at my kids' feet) but I don't think that would build our life the same as outdoor walks and talks, ice cream with Grampy, and 5 different VBS's.
I am satisfied with our summer. I can look into autumn with twinkling eyes (bring on the pumpkin cheesecake stuff and cider) without any vague unease at the changing of the season. Summer was well spent. We know each other better, we know Jesus better, and we shared Him around wherever we went. And I was smiling during some of it! And laughing and joking and not nearly so serious as I've been trying to be (thinking I had to be...how else would I ever get through the laundry?)
I want to tell you about the surprise of Christ the King retreat center. Hopefully I'll blog again soon. And change my background to something NOT Christmas. :) XO