Monday, June 29, 2015

Summer: A Love Affair

When I was a kid, I actually hated summer. I didn't like the heat and I didn't find much enjoyment from being outside. I preferred TV or playing make believe in an air conditioned home much more enjoyable.

Just out of high school, I took a job working with kids at a childcare center. The center turned into a summer day camp during the summer months. Which roughly translates into the best job I've ever had. I spent my summer riding in a hot bus full of elementary school kids in transit to some amazing adventures. We spent our days swimming, playing kick ball, and warming ourselves in the sun while playing game after game of Skip-Bo. It was truly the job dreams are made of.

I fell hard for summer over the course of my college life. It was a time for me to take better care of myself once away from hours upon hours in the classroom, long nights, and early mornings. Summers allowed me to play, to exercise, and to pack a healthy lunch every day. I spent my days in the sun, being a mentor to children, and loving every minute of it.

summer with toddler

For a long long time, I could tell you every place that I visited with the boy I first loved and every place that even hinted or reminded me of him. Most of those memories have faded, I don't recall many moments with him and I certainly don't ache over missing him anymore, but I do ache over those summer memories. I can tell you where I went with those kids and I can recall some of my fondest memories in great detail. Summer was my real first love.

Summers after college weren't quite the same. I don't have a whole lot of friends and my build in friends in those kids were gone. I was alone in my backyard tanning most summer days after I became a teacher. I taught summer school, took classes, and cleaned my house but I ached and longed for those lively summer feelings to come back. I had lost touch with summer. Sure, we were still good friends--after all, I need a tan! But our passion was gone.

Enter motherhood. Last summer was the hardest of them all. I was exhausted and couldn't find time to spend outside for as long as I would like. It was too hot for JaiseAnn and I still didn't have many friends to meet up with or do anything with. So we set up an umbrella in our backyard and I tried really hard to rekindle that love. But no! Last summer I was pale, tired, and most of all, out of touch. I had actually felt like summer and I had broken up, for good. And I mourned that loss.

summer with toddlers

This summer, though. This summer is already starting out to be the best of them all. Summer and I have found one another again--and this time JaiseAnn wants in on the fun. We spend so much of our day outside--we go on walks, play in the water, visit parks, and are about to start swimming lessons. I never could have guessed that I'd be having so much fun with my toddler each and every day, but I am. Summer and my daughter are a winning combination. Each day I hit the bed totally exhausted and utterly blessed.

Summer fills me with so much more than a bit of sunshine and play. It offers hope and energy in it's long, bright days filled with fun. It offers peace with time spent in nature and moving our bodies. It offers a break from the daily routine and it transforms the mundane into something exciting and new. Summer offers adventure every time you leave your house. 

motherhood summer

Summer is handfuls of fresh cherries, bare feet in the grass, and a water logged diapered bottom walking around the yard. It's wet faces, picnics finished with kisses, and nighttime strolls. It's the joys of summer seen through the eyes of my daughter for the first time and it's the most beautiful experience ever.  My love affair with summer is back and better than ever--and I couldn't be more grateful.

How do you feel about summer? How about summer as a mom?

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