I love the pace of Saturdays most of the time. The past few weeks my husband and I have had to work all weekend at our jobs. He has had a product deadline to take care of. I, of course, have had my many wonderful hard-working students. They worked so hard and steadily to get ready for finals. Now many of them are on a brief summer recess. I say brief because some of them will be starting summer school on Tuesday. Some of them within 2 weeks. Some of them are doing a summer program with me.
A few of my students start back for fall session on 7/25. All of them will be back in session by 8/6. Gone are the days I knew as a kid—school out by about 6/4 but sometimes we ended the Friday before Memorial Day. The day after Labor Day was always the start of school. Summer was family-time, reading-time, gazing at the clouds from my yard-time. Those peaceful days were so wonderful for re-grouping and clearing my mind. Summer was restorative.
The kids in the neighborhood would gather and play— we’d play tag, Pom-pom-pullaway, Red Rover, statue, hide-andseek, kick the can, flashlight tag, kickball, baseball, croquet…..It was a blast. No organized activities, just kids organizing themselves. Perhaps that is why I have always thrilled at marching to my own drummer.
I didn’t really run into the “Mean Girls” type of folks until my freshman year of college. Then I grew a new spine, and made some great life-long friends, and never really had trouble with that type of person again. Why am I mentioning that? I plan on being on the lookout for folks that are falling under the evil spell of bullying….and yes, adults get bullied tool
I plan this summer to try to be refreshing and restorative to the folks I encounter. My family, my friends, my students, and people I have yet to meet. There is ENOUGH negativity in the culture. We need to be havens. We need to accept. We need to join in the joy. I am not sure exactly how I plan to do this. If just wandered around and said to everyone I meet “Gosh, you are a wonderful person” and things like that, it could get irritating and come across as a bit creepy. That wouldn’t be restorative.
Perhaps it is in the making time to be welcoming and loving. Remember being a kid in the summer and never feeling rushed or overscheduled? I think our hearts and souls need times like that. We also need challenges, work, and deadlines—they add focus, meaning and fulfill our need for purpose and accomplishment.
My year thus far has been a string of challenges, doctor appointments, illnesses, deadlines, work, fear, sorrow, etc. That is truer this year than it has been in ever so long. HOWEVER: my year has been filled with life-affirming moments, new friendships, friends and family reaching out, long-time friends lending a shoulder, an ear, a visit, a letter, a call, soup, lasagna, prayers and just letting me know they are there for me….As a result, I knew they and God were close by and that I was never ever alone…..
So my troubles and sorrow became a huge blessing. It is so amazing to have the life I have. Through every rough terrain, every desert, mountain, or rough sea God continues to send me love and loving people. I am humbled beyond measure. I am grateful beyond words. How is it that God knew years ago that He needed to send me the exact husband, son, parents, friends, siblings, in-laws, cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles that I would need? I mean it is so exactly perfect. Nope, I wouldn’t change a thing. Of course God knew. I trusted, but He knew.
A word here about cousins. Some people have a few and some people have lots. When I was growing up in MN I got to see my cousins a lot. Oh how precious those times were and are to me. Our families would get together often and all of the cousins would go play–never fighting, never ever mean to each other. Why? We just LOVED being together. We lived with the hope that if we played happily together and never fought that our parents would continue having fun with each other and totally forget to go home. I am the oldest kid in my family—and I had a number of cousins before I was blessed with brothers. As a result, my cousins were special to me my entire life and still are.
I look at it this way—a cousin is a friend you never lose, and a sibling you never have to share a room with, but you always wish you could. I love my cousins—it would be fun to move the states around so that we were all within a few hours of each other. You would love my cousins too if you could meet them. Every single one of them is extraordinary. So loving, so special, so idea-filled, such awesome people–this includes my hubby’s cousins, too, of course!
My in-laws are really tremendous as well. Brilliant, funny, loving, loyal, devoted, supportive, oh the superlatives go on and on actually. I hear people complain about their in-laws and I am dumbfounded. My in-laws have always been so kind and loving to me. I feel loved, and safe with them—and they are endlessly interesting people, too.
No book could be big enough to contain the wonderful things about my friends, cousins, in-laws, parents, brothers, grandparents, aunts and uncles. I don’t say it to brag, no not one bit. I am saying that I would be nothing without all of these people (plus the fabulous teachers God sent me, too).
This Saturday I am grateful beyond words. I am absolutely certain that everyone reading this has been similarily blessed. I am sure there have been times when you felt ill, or down and out or overwhelmed. Maybe you do today. Please remember the days and times when someone blessed you. Who did you spend your summer days with?
Welcome your summer with open arms……look to the sky and decide what shapes the clouds are making. Smell those flowers and hear the birds….they are singing for you. I wish you love and I am, as usual, a perennial optimist.