Falling Again

IMG_3506I’m ready to hibernate.

Our entire summer was a blur: sleepaway camps, day camps, Bible School, Volleyball Camp, Art Camp, fishing, swimming, the beach, the lake, trips to NC to visit family and the Outer Banks, Niagara Falls….

I don’t even remember everything that we did. Just that it was a LOT. As the mom, this involved a lot of sorting, cleaning, planning (not my strong suit), logistics (also not my strong suit), HOURS of driving (that either), and laundry (ah yes, there it is: laundry is my strong suit.)

But now the trips are done. The boogie boards are back in the attic where they belong. The car is vacuumed. The laundry is all done (not all put away, mind you, but it’s washed and dried, at least).

And now? Now I just want to stay home.

So we’ve finally traded in the beach bag and the flip-flops for hoodies and boots. We’ve tracked down some matching gloves and a couple of hats – just in case. The leaves and acorns are getting tracked into the kitchen, right on schedule. The mums look like they are lighting fires in yards all over the neighborhood.

I love the smell of a bonfire and the crunch of dry, crackly leaves. I love blazing oranges and reds and golden yellow with neon green edged leaves. I love watching the fat gray squirrels chuck acorns at us from high in our giant oak tree. I love the chill in the early morning and how, after the sun goes down, the breeze brings that little whispery message that winter is thinking about us and might just pay us a visit sometime soon. I love falling asleep to the sounds of football on TV. I love how the kids run in and out, trying to decide if they’re too hot or too cold – and sometimes capturing wooly-boogers (their term for those brown and black fuzzy caterpillars.)

We’ve done the Family Fun Fest, gone to a couple of pumpkin patches, attended a build-your-own-scarecrow party (there are now 4 big scarecrows holding a creepy vigil in my front yard), and guzzled down the mandatory 2 gallons or so of local apple cider. We went creek-stomping, explored the woods, and picked some apples.

My fall to-do list is just about done!
The only thing left is to hunker down, light a fire in the fireplace, and do absolutely nothing for the next few months.

Or maybe four.

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Long, Lazy Days

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Every year I long for them.

The long, lazy days of summer.

And now they’re finally here.

A friend asked me the other day what I remember most about summertime when I was growing up. I thought about it and it wasn’t big family vacations or camp or anything “big” like that. What I remember most is doing nothing. I mainly remember playing with my cousins, the smell of freshly-cut grass, and baking in the sun with my friend Becky. We slathered down with Hawaiian Tropic and listened to Axl F on my little purple AM/FM/cassette mini boom-box while we talked about boys.

I wonder what my kids will remember and I think it might end up being something like this:

Stopping mid-pedal on a bike ride to watch a roly poly on the sidewalk or to scrutinize “a herd of ants.” Picking a buttercup to put in your hair. Making “tree-tents” and drawing with sidewalk chalk. Making daisy chains. Pulling off the road when you spot the world’s biggest dandelion. Having a popsicle (or two. Or three). Stomping in the creek. Eating dinner outside on a blanket.

Staying up late to catch lightning bugs. Squirting each other with the hose. Sweating profusely and hoping for a breeze. Looking for butterflies. Slicing up watermelon. Looking at dinosaur-shaped clouds in the sky. Retreating to the A/C and collapsing on the cool couch with a big glass of iced tea and the latest episode of Wild Kratts. Staying up after dark. Dirty feet. Swinging on swings. Climbing trees.

And what will I remember about these days with my children?

“Mom, come and play ball with me!” – Sadie, age 10

“Mom, I need a hug from you!” – Josie, age 8

“Mom, wet’s go for a bike wide!” – Jed, age 3

CRASH*BANG!!BOOM* then: “Everything’s fine, Mom! Don’t come and check on me!” – Adelaide, age 6

These little moments, these little arms around us, these tiny dirty feet running through the summer grass. These are the moments we will remember – not the big stuff.

Or maybe we’re getting it wrong – maybe it is the big stuff.

I hope your summer days are long and lazy and full of “nothing.”