June 22, 2014 by Julia
Fiona’s last day of Kindergarten was on Monday, and while I haven’t had any time to write this week until now (10 pm on Friday night), it’s been a good week.
A lot of us moms were panicking at the thought of endless summer days, I think – or were at least feeling some apprehension. Personally, I kept vacillating between trying to find camps or classes and activities to fill our days, and then wondering if we should just let it be a break, you know? I think in the end, we decided on a happy medium for our six-year-old and almost-three-year-old: a swim class for each, a gymnastics class for each, and then lots of outings and playdates and down time in between. I realize that full-day camps are the answer for many kids, but not necessarily for Fiona. And I didn’t want our summer to feel like more school.
I’m liking the easy mornings. I don’t have to pack her lunches and get us out to the bus stop. There is a deeper relaxation coming over our entire family right now, despite how overly busy we happened to be this past week.
Also, there has been screaming, fighting, frustration…but none of it seems like a big deal once the moment passes two seconds later. Is this what it means to be family? We apologize and make up. We are goofy and crazy. Jack literally kicks the contact out of my left eye while I’m trying to put his shoes back on in the car, and I have to go to the doctor and grocery store half blind with both kids; Fiona cries that she wants to be a baby again; I introduce them to the joy of cutting dolls’ hair as an alternative to Jack cutting his own hair, and then have to clear our dining table of wispy tufts of blue, black and blonde hair so we can eat spaghetti. We play “Hit the Road, Jack,” on repeat because it is a great song (really, the catchiest!) and we like the literal interpretation of Jack smacking the road with his hand, which he will enact for us in the kitchen. I have been lying around on the couch with them more this week – trying to eat Jack alive, basically, while he is still young and soft and wants to snuggle in between bouts of wrestling, and more quietly bonding with my girl.
I decided to show her my beloved PBS miniseries, Anne of Green Gables, during Jack’s naps the past few afternoons, with full knowledge that it might bore her to tears – but it didn’t, it didn’t! I have such vivid memories of when it first aired, and I was about eight years old, waiting each week for the next installment. Oh, Anne with an “e.” So many wonderful scrapes and beautiful, heart-aching moments she gets herself into.
And that scene where Gilbert must save her in the lake when her rowboat sinks!
I told Fiona that it was my favorite part as a girl, and she said it was hers, too. We haven’t gotten to the part at the end where Gilbert brushes back Anne’s hair in the field and affectionately calls her “Carrots…” which is the teasing term he first uses in grade school to get her attention, prompting years of hostility from Anne. Swoon. The light on Prince Edward’s Island, and that gorgeous, nostalgic music, and the brilliant characters of Marilla and Matthew and Anne (not to mention the actors who portray them in such a timeless manner)…it just slays me.
And to share it with my daughter, all snuggled together on the couch! It’s awesome.
(I apologize for getting a bit carried away with the images there.)
I tend to get frantic about spending my time wisely, and will even plan out my down time so that it is perfectly executed for maximum fulfillment and relaxation. There is so much I want to do, and I prefer that my home environment be somewhat clean-ish while I’m at it, and oh yeah, I need friends! I have to email or call or text back the beloved person I’ve accidentally ignored for two days. Ahh!
But maybe summer is slowing me down. Maybe not every moment has to be mapped out. I can leave that stuff in order to stop and enjoy the company of my children. My to-do list will be waiting for me, and the world won’t have exploded. And I am happier for the time I’ve spent doing nothing but being with them. What better time of year to do that than in the first free days of summer?
They are gorgeous and sweet and ferocious and raw, these little cubs, and they are what Dennis and I dreamed of. So I will slow down, let the heat make me lazy, and forget the dishes in the sink, in favor of my son’s dishwater blonde hair and my daughter’s knobby limbs folded into my arms, so sweet.