Saying goodbye to summer

I have at least three thousand pictures saved on my phone or computer from this summer. Most the pictures are candid, with the kids swinging high into the sky, playing broom ball in the street outside our house, drawing chalk people up and down our driveway, chasing ducks across the lawn and back into the lake, fishing with a few pieces of bread and a net, kayaking to and from the beach to our dock, lying in the sun and finding pictures in the clouds, and make-believing the heck out of this summer.

It has been a wonderful summer. My kids have rarely asked for screen time; in fact, I often have to coax them inside to wind down from their busy outdoor lifestyle. I feel like I've been mostly absent from friends and texting (sorry friends!), but I also feel like I have really lived in the moment this summer.

Today as I rested on my neighbor's lawn and listened to the giggles of Genevieve and Elle as they worked together to make the swings twist around and around, I looked up to the sky and wondered how is this my life?!! My life is so rich and full of love--love that I offer to others and love that I receive from them in return (especially from my children). I sat there and wondered if I felt like I was lacking anything in my life and couldn't think of anything. Sure, we don't have furniture to fill certain rooms of our house and we aren't up to date on the latest technology trends, but I have all that I need (well, I guess I could use an extra hand or two because I almost always have three kids begging for my attention).

My life is not without heartache or pain. Believe me...I feel it. I have strained relationships with a few people, and those relationships tug at my very core (just ask Tim). Sometimes my kids yell at me. Today, one spit at me (she was quickly sent to time out). Sometimes my kids tell me I'm mean, and I feel sad because I don't really want to be mean, but I have to be firm. But no matter how many times my kids tell me I'm mean or I'm hurting their feelings, they have never uttered the words that I fear the most, "I hate you." I think those words would crush me.

This summer has brought us together in so many ways. We've really discovered the area in which we live, and we've tried so many new things together. It's also been hard from time to time because we're really all we have so we have had to learn to work through our differences quickly because there aren't any neighbors to run to; we have had to learn to run to each other.

I wish I could tell you about all the plays/recitals I watched over the summer months--each one with a new theme and a new song/story. I wish I show you all of the towers my kids created with those awful, tiny Legos. I wish I describe all the happy memories we've created all over the map--Texas, California, Illinois, Indiana and Maryland. It has been a good summer, and I'm sad to see it go.

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"Be kind and considerate with your criticism... It's just as hard to write a bad book as it is to write a good book." Malcolm Cowley