Monday, September 19, 2011

Summer Imprints

Summer is a wondrous time of year where the weather is warm, parents work less, and children play more. It is a time where children and adults alike can be more easily seduced into moments of reckless abandon, spontaneous laughter, and senseless overindulgence.

For me, this conjures up memories of the County Fair with my four-year-old son. We escape the heat as day turns to night and we skip merrily around the rides in what seemed like some far-out-video-game-dimension where neon lights spun around our heads, mixing with competing cankerous carnival ride music. Happy faces found everywhere, young and old, all buzzing from this over-stimulating multi-sensory acid-like-trip.

Perma-grin plastered on my face, enjoying every moment for the simple reason that I am with my son. This is our memory making night. Growing up, I scoffed at such cheap thrills. As a mom, I want a magical fun filled night for me and my son. And oh, it was indeed. Including a new thread of wisdom of what it feels like to eat an elephant ear (fried dough) on an empty stomach. Ugh.

"Can we go back to the fair please mom! Please." And repeat, for the rest of the summer, and still.

Summertime is filled with so many once-a-year opportunities that demand our senses to wake up and pay attention before the days grow short again. 

It is a time where nature is simply bursting with its fruits. There is nothing like eating fresh berries right off the plant, or harvesting your own veggies. Every year, after watching the plants grow and swell, I look forward to my first bite of garden grown tomato, lightly salted on toasted bread with a sprig of Genevieve basil, generous mayo. Worth the wait, I say. I can't buy tomatoes in the winter anymore.

Purple edible flowers
Each year, those freshly plucked berries taste just a little different to me. Not better, not worse, just different each year.

I remember kneeling down in my old cutoff jean shorts as a kid, picking strawberries from the local patching patch. There was nothing like staring at that velvety dark-red berry found deep within a thick green bush, that someone else had overlooked. It was my prized diamond in the ruff.

There is a certain smell - a real smell, unlike strawberry bubblicious gum - that waifs to your nose after you've taken a bite of a fresh picked strawberry. Do you remember those little micro-hairs on a just picked strawberry that perhaps can only be seen in the bright light of the summer sun. They tickle your lips if you bite it just right. For a while there, upon puberty, fresh strawberries grossed me out because they looked too much like noses.

Summertime may make all your senses burst alive, but it also allows you to let it all go, slide on out the side-door into a deeper state of calm resting awareness. 

Sunning on the porch

Perhaps it is the warmth, or maybe it is lack of agenda, but some of the best memories of summer are those simple moment of pure relaxation.

Maybe it is enjoying a picnic in your backyard under an old oak tree, or washing the dishes with the windows open smelling fresh cut grass mixed with your roses. Maybe it is sitting on the porch indulging in a trashy book, hearing the distant laughter of the children as they chase butterflies.

Maybe it was the silly moments that made your summer?

But in all the fun, in all the relaxation or reckless abandon, or in all those many memories made, one of the most important aspects of a successful summer for families is:

How deeply did you connect with your family this summer? 

Summertime brings many potential moments for deep connection with children, spouses and extended family. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in "doing" too much, instead of just listening, observing, or just simply being fully present in the moment.

I went to a college friend's wedding this summer. It was a special time to reconnect with old friends, and also to see my mother and grandmother. It was such a short trip, and since I was in the wedding party, much of my time was spent running this way and that. I brought my baby daughter too, just to complicate things. I hated that I was pulled in so many directions. I just wanted to sit and relax and be present.

The three generations

Some of my best memories were the simple ones. My 85-year-old grandmother smiling ear-to-ear as she shone her light to my daughter teaching her patty-cake. Or glimpsing at my mom mothering my baby down the hotel hall, as she fusses and hovers over her while I get dressed. Seeing the happiness simply ooze off my friend as she relaxes after the wedding ceremony, knowing her marriage dreams have finally come true. Unlacing her wedding dress. Finally alone with my mom, chattering like school girls for a whole two minutes while pulling up the car to the hotel door.

Fanciest dress & highest heels I've ever worn

True, there were moments this summer at home with the kids that I was bored. "Hello boredom, you have come to visit again," I'd say in hopes of realizing that this boredom was just another passing emotion. But sometimes that visitor over-stayed its welcome. And so did Mr. No-Motivation. There were times this summer I was scattered and tense. There were moments I wish I reacted differently. But all-in-all, looking back at all that we did and didn't do, and all the sense-memories that we made, I do believe that we will deeply remember it for a little while longer. I will call it the summer of nearly one and four (the ages of my kids).

Lazy sunny beach days

Farmer's market water labyrinth

After dinner tricycle rides 

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting snaps which you have shared within the fun part of your moments. Thanks for those memory sharing.

    Easy Dry | Buy Step Ladder Online