I could also have titled this post: How I'm Coping with the Arrival of Fall, or perhaps: Why oh Why Does Summer Ever Have to End? I've already been in denial for weeks. If you're struggling like me, with the official end of the season of bliss this weekend, read on friends!
We closed out our summer vacation with the bright colors of Coney Island- all the sticky hues of cotton candy and mustard dripping off corn dogs, lemonade slush and sunshine glinting off the aqua blue of the shore became our eye candy. I really wasn't sure which way to look as we walked up and down the boardwalk. I felt an overwhelming sense of awe to be at the beach with my children, to hear them giggle and race to the next ride or roller coaster, I never wanted to leave that very moment- I had this urgency to imprint their faces and hands and little feet just as they were right then in my memory forever.
The idea of a never ending summer isn't anything new. I know I'm not the first mama to want to freeze time, to dream of extending our days of leisure and rest on and on and on. They are just so very delicious and sometimes we feel that we just can't get enough. This summer? Its been a good one. Sunshine reached all the way to our itty bitty toes and we have basked in canoe rides and campfires, marshmallow roasting and blueberry picking before breakfast, firecrackers and card games by the light of the moon, back yard relays and croquet, laps in the pool and floats down lazy rivers- I could have lived this summer forever.
When things are sailing along beautifully, I just want to hold on with all I've got. I'm always doing this. Grasping with all my will, all my might to the things I love, to the things I want to control, to my ideals and children and seasons and stages. Maybe because we've had so many, but transitions are not among our families strong suits (ahem).
When Maia was four years old, she loved the summer time so fiercely that when Autumn rolled around she refused to take off her swimsuit. It had been her summer uniform and she went from pjs to swimsuits everyday with nary another piece of clothing on her skin, except for the occasional sundress over top. She was so full of freedom and light that summer I think she was scared to let it go. Until close to Halloween when her costume obsession kicked in, she wore a swimsuit over her skivvies and under her clothes every single day.
My girl was so afraid that if she didn't cling tight, the good stuff was going to fade. Oh how I find myself doing this very thing. How often do I forget the generosity of my God?
Rest, real rest, is only found in the letting go, the leaning in, the trusting, the abiding. The trees outside in Central Park look heavy in these early September days. They're weepy and full and tired and a bit over grown. The branches are swaying low and its clear to look at them that they need a break. They need a season of respite. The arborists will begin to visit soon, paring the branches back, thinning out all they see that needs to be cut off so that the growth can be healthy again next Spring. The work of the trees will be in secret now; beneath the bark and twigs until the buds burst forth to reveal months of labor coming to fruition.
My work seems mostly internal too. This is the season where I fight to wake each day with intention, to sharpen my will, to gird my home with beauty for the long days of homeschooling that lay ahead. Its deep, sweaty, soul work and I don't often see how it will all work out until the Spring. I've been known to wonder if the blossoms will ever really come. There is a pruning too- of my liberties, of the care-free days I crave- but this pruning bears fruit in harvest time.
My days are shaped by the shears of time and attention, but there is fruit ready to be picked and eaten in these early days. All the planning that filled the corners of my summer is actually happening, its animated within the walls of my home, coming into being this season with laughter and music and even the struggle to master new concepts. These are the days I have put my heart and soul into dreaming of and preparing for and they are really here today for me to take in every moment.
And the pruning back of all those beautiful branches outside? Its not to hack them away without intention . . . Its to let in more light! In the cold days ahead, the Light will always hold steady. In the routines that can squelch our creativity, or limit our sense of freedom, the good stuff is still there.
As our day at Coney Island drew on, my little guy, blew us all away with his bravery. First on a small roller coaster, then next on the dipping airplanes, the log ride, and then finally, by announcing he was ready for the Thunderbolt. The stuff of legend, The Thunderbolt is Coney Island's swirly whirly new installment to the boardwalk that has made grown men cry. Its a re-creation of the original from nearly 100 years ago. You guys, I was terrified. I actually kissed his head and prayed over him. My fears were kicked into hyperdrive, I had a million reasons to deny his request (and would have, quite honestly, if my husband hadn't sported a giant grin and sprinted toward their shared experience!)
My boy rocked it.
Screaming with all his might and holding on for dear life, I have never seen him come so alive.
I want to be like my son. I want to welcome the light shining through into Autumn just like he blazed through the climbs and falls of the Thunderbolt. Eyes wide, arms raised in the air, just a little terrified and yet, thrilled at the prospect of what is before me. The Good Stuff is waiting.
Thankful you are here with me friends,