Saturday, September 1, 2012

the longest summer (ev-ah)

"there shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart."  ~ celia thaxter

this past week, two of them started back.  next week, two more will go, and the following week, the fifth begins.  the school bell is ringing and the longest summer ever, is ending.  of course my feelings are mixed, as i write this morning.  i am a girl who has always embraced the back to school bustle.  i loved it when i was in 5th grade and i love it now as a mom of five.  don't get me wrong, it couldn't be crazier. the details are many, the supply lists are long, the forms are formidable.  we spend countless hours and hundreds of dollars in target readying the children with new markers and fancy binders and all that educational-jazz.  this year, my two oldest will be given ipads at high school and my 7th grader is also encouraged to bring an ipad to class for note taking.  yes, ipads. things certainly have changed since my own school days.  i remember in 7th grade being thoroughly impressed with the metallic cover on my spiral notebook and a pen which changed colors by clicking a button.

thankfully, this staggered leaving of my children does make the close of our summer-chapter a little more gentle.  slowly they are emptying out of my home and heading off into the world of learning.  the littlest girl will only be gone three days for preschool, and for that, i am glad.  she loves school like i've never seen a preschooler love school.  every day asking me, "when do i get to go, mom?" she knows her letters, can write her name and counts to 20 without a hiccup...this tiny girl is ready.  she'd probably like to take the ipad with her as well, but no, she gets a red book bag and some brand new crayons.

summer is over.  it is, however, a little hard to completely grasp that thought when we are still living a vacation kind of life.  i am certain the cold weather and piles of snow will snap us quickly into the correct (and serious) line of thinking.  but right now, i am not quite sure how to transition the children from lake-life to school bells and homework.  just a few mornings ago, i came close in failing to wake the kids up on time.  you see, there was this sunrise --- and it kind of emptied my mind of all mundane items, i.e., waking children for school. these lake sunrises hold power.  i come down every morning to something new.  each morning different.  always me, my coffee and my time with God...but every morning we've been in this house, the sun has greeted me in a new outfit.  always different.  always beautiful.  always i am startled.  i thought to myself today, "now, how in the world am i supposed to handle the average things of life with this right outside my window?"  will i ever grow tired of it?  will i ever walk past and not stop and stare?  from up in this house on the hill i am drawn to go down and sit on the dock.  i have spent many a morning in slippers and pajamas camped out at water's edge.  but now we must return to school:  make breakfast and pack lunches,  find socks and braid hair.  and getting five children ready and off to school takes every bit of my concentration.  i might just have to invest in some massive blinds to keep me on task come morning time.

this week the children have come home and headed straight for swimsuits and fishing poles.  they waste no time in shedding their school-ish things and stepping back into their leisure.  we love this.  i know for sure, come next week, tyler will be doing the very same thing.  i won't be surprised to see him in his kayak or with a fishing pole in hand before showering for high school.  where most freshmen on the first day of school (girls at least) will be carefully arranging hair, applying makeup and picking out perfect outfits, my soon-to-be-high-school son, just might smell like fish.  and strangely enough, i'm okay with that.

long summer fades finally away from our view...away from our sun-tanned hands and sunburnt noses.  we squeezed a lot from it though.  the children got out of school in mid-may as southerners and head back in late august/early september as northerners. that little logistic of the move worked in their favor.  they'll probably never again have a summer quite so long.  we've definitely added those extra weeks to the silver lining column.  it has been drawn out for other reasons beside the calendar though -- that goes without saying.  any of you who have been reading along in these past months know we've had some marathon moments to push through in the high heat of these days.  for me, summer has always meant something along the lines of footloose and fancy free:  bare feet in green grass, cold lemonade in hand, sprinklers on the lawn, beach towels and good books scattered around our house.  though we have had our share of sweetness, i probably wouldn't categorize this as our most carefree summer. not exactly.  thus my title:  the longest summer (ev-ah).

and so we end it.  this weekend officially will mark its close.  i have to be honest,  i kind of feel relieved.  yes, like, "whew...we made it."  that's the feeling i have sitting here this morning madly typing away.  and i know it will be the feeling when i watch my two teens drive off to high school next tuesday (oh. my. goodness!)...when i watch my junior high daughter and her elementary school brother climb out of our suv...even when i walk the littlest girl and her red book bag into her preschool classroom in two weeks.  "whew...we made it!"  we somehow survived the longest summer ever.  i mean i know this transition stuff isn't exactly over.  we've still got some things to get through.  emily will walk, as a junior, into a brand new school next week.  (yeah, THAT'S easy - not)...  and, for heaven's sake, tyler BEGINS high school next week...that's no small thing either.  we've got some stuff to do... some hurdles to jump...some bridges to cross.  we've got a new chapter to begin. change can be so, so hard, but isn't it also, sometimes good?  at least it's good for us.

yes, it's time to head into a school year which will be filled with new lessons to learn,   but i can't help but think also about the learning we've done in this long, long summer. summertime may fade slowly away this weekend, but it leaves us ready for a new chapter and i give thanks today for the learning.

some pictures from our final weeks of summer...

yeah, she knows she's cute... uh-oh.

when the kids are out on the water...cooper always sits waiting and watching.

"To see the Summer Sky is Poetry, though never in a Book it lie --
True Poems flee."  ~ emily dickinson


carolyn bradford said...

Oh, Jody…I bet you get sick of my same old comments! But I just can't help it! I really do wish i were living your life…yes, I really do! I am jealous because you are getting to experience God's goodness even in the midst of trials! your life seems so wonderful and these pictures are so, well…so…picturesque! It is a beautiful testimony to God! How good things come from things that we think aren't so good! The things that we think just plain stink bring beauty after God gets us through it! You are amazing and I'm so glad that you share your heart with us! I love hearing the good and the bad…the beautiful and and the ugly…because it is real! I truly do savor these posts and look very forward to them!

Aus said...

Jody - good morning - welcome back to the school year! Completly love your "word pictures" - but your picture pictures were pretty awesome too!

But may I observe - that somewhere in the past couple weeks - things might have turned kind of (lest I say it!!) "normal"?

Regardless - I absolutly love it - hugs to all -

aus and co.

Heather said...

Hi I’m Heather! Please email me, I have a question about your blog! LifesABanquet1(at)