I’ve had a countdown app on my phone for a few months now. The days slowly passed by until the big day. I was counting down until I was off for the summer. I love my job, but man, have things been so different with Covid-19. On my last day, a few coworkers curiously asked what all I was going to do while off for the summer. “What can we do really, summer is basically ruined,” I proclaimed. Looking back, I know that was a little dramatic. I understand just how serious this pandemic is and it was perhaps a little selfish to say that. But I am disappointed, and it’s okay to feel that way.
Now, almost two weeks into being off, my attitude has completely changed.
We found a patio set at Walmart for a super good deal! I tapped into my creative side and put together a little set up on the deck. I figured if we were going to spend a lot of time home, I wanted a special little space for us. I also got an inflatable pool and that was the best $25 I have ever spent.
The kids also find so much joy in riding their scooters and bikes around the neighborhood. The days are filled with scrapped knees and emoji band-aids (even for the invisible scrapes). Little top-knots, sweaty faces, wrinkled fingers from being in the water, dirt-filled fingers and toes that have to be soaked and scrubbed each night, and sticky faces from popsicles. I’ve found their favorite summer treat is strawberries with whipped cream and it’s most enjoyed with them all lined up on the patio packed tightly together.
Just the other day when my husband got off, he fired up the grill. There were hotdogs, burgers, and marinated chicken. The kids were jumping on the trampoline laughing and playing. My five-year-old yelled out, “This is the best day ever.” It warmed my heart, but I thought to myself, “this is how our days have been.” That’s when it hit me; I had become so focused in the monotony of the days, that I almost missed it. Summer isn’t just a season meant for beaches, Dollywood, splash pads, swimming pools, and going out every day. No, those aren’t the things that make up a summer.
Summer is a feeling. What if it’s a feeling made up of all the fleeting, seemingly ordinary moments right here, right now?
It’s the feeling of wrapping little bodies in towels after being in the pool. It’s the feeling of the sunshine hitting your skin as soon as you step outside. It’s the feeling of biting into a fresh watermelon. It’s the feeling of curling up inside getting lost in a good book as the summer rain pours outside. It’s the feeling of rushing to get some change as soon as you hear the familiar melody of the ice-cream truck. It’s the feeling of cold chills and brain freezes while enjoying every bite of that ice cream. It’s the feeling of reliving all your childhood memories as the kids run barefoot through the yard. It’s the feeling of slathering on sunscreen. It’s the feeling of those first few sips of ice cold water on a hot day. It’s the feeling of watching all the lightning bugs illuminate the night. It’s the feeling of going to bed bone tired but so grateful for a day well spent. And no matter how different things may be this summer, those feelings will remain.
It took hearing my five-year-old shout those sweet words to remind me that there’s such a sweet surrender in laying down the way I “think” things should look. There’s beauty in the mundane. There’s gratitude in unwrapping the days ahead as gifts meant to be savored.
Things aren’t perfect, not even by a long shot. There are still tons of tantrums, quarrels, chores, laundry that never ends even with us not going anywhere. There’s always random wet towels from being in the pool and wet spots in the house from said pool. I’ve had my share of days where I feel like I am flat out failing. But we all are learning to adapt slowly but surely.