It has been six months since I last wrote a new blog post. I cheated one day and posted something “from the vault” because I couldn’t seem to write something new.
I love to write and if you perused my shelves in my home office you would find journals filled with pages written during this crazy pandemic and pages where words wouldn’t come and I filled them with other mediums to express how I was feeling. There are pages that are about enjoying the respite and pages where I feel sad and pages where I am just incredibly angry and they scream that it’s not fair! It’s been a hard year.
I read something the other day that was really simple but it hit me hard in my heart. Most of us have between eighteen and twenty-two summers with our kids. Eighteen or so summers to go to Disney World and the beach and camping. Eighteen or so summers to sleep late and pick blueberries and make ice cream in the old churn and squeeze fresh lemons into a glass pitcher and make lemonade, tart and delicious. Eighteen or so summers to spend with grandparents and play in the sprinkler and watch Braves games and cook hotdogs and hamburgers on the grill. Eighteen or so times of whatever is summer to you and this past year it felt like one of those summers was stolen from us... from our kids... from Grandma and Grandpa. It didn’t feel fair.
When I was a kid we camped in a tent in state parks and got up before the sun and went fishing and ate food that felt delicious simply because it was cooked on the Coleman stove. When my grandparents got a camper they would come and park beside our tent and we spent hours by a campfire making s’mores and talking... and there was a less barbaric bathroom to use. After vacation we spent the summer tending a big garden where we would get up early and pick our produce before the sweltering sun was high in the sky. I remember taking a salt shaker to the garden and eating ripe, red tomatoes straight from the vine and warmed by the sun.
The summer memories I have are filled with just everyday sort of things. They were things we did together. It was time shared with family. It was a whole lot of love. They were chocked full of the kind of things that nurture your soul and I didn’t even know it at the time. Sometimes life just isn’t very fair and this past year has shown us all that. I know our kids can finally rival the stories of their elders who walked uphill barefoot both ways to school. they have had a tough year. We have all had a year full of doing hard things and I think it is time to brave the world a little.
I hope this summer you are filling the jars of your hearts with memories. I hope you love big. I hope this is a summer your kids talk about year after year at Christmas when everyone is together. “Remember that summer after the worst of the pandemic?” “Yeah, that was the best summer ever!” Be silly and spontaneous. Eat on the patio. Blow bubbles and draw with sidewalk chalk. Allow your kids to see the playful side of you that may have been put away for way too long.
We may have lost a summer but we gained perspective and learned that Disney doesn’t have the corner on summer magic and that sometimes catching lightening bugs and sitting by the fire together trumps the memories that take a year of planning and a chunk of savings to do. We have learned that, at the end of the day, it’s the people we make the memories with that matter most and make those memories sweet, not the events or things. So I wish you the very best of summers. I hope you take quiet moments to take in the people around you that your heart may have been missing in the year behind us. say the things to them that you want them to know. Say "I love you" so much it borders on awkward. It’s time to fill our hearts with gratitude and just let it splash over onto everyone. Because God is good, even when we just can’t see it.