Off the list

Oh hey, hiiii. It’s been a while. I wish I could say I haven’t written in ages because it’s summer break and I’ve been traveling, or taking a reading break (that’s a real thing writers do, right?), but the truth is, it’s hard to concentrate with a 10 year-old practicing her soccer rainbow with a $2 Avengers ball from the grocery store, and Daniel Tiger singing in the background about how you need to find a grown-up to help you feel better when you get hurt.

Today marks the first day of week two of our official summer. Every year when June rolls around I have a list somewhere, in a notebook or a document on my computer, with a list of things I want to do with my kids during these two months, places I want to take them, and every year when mid-August rolls around I feel a wave of guilt as thick as the southern humidity over how few items we’ve marked off of that list. This year is no different: there’s a list called “day trips” in my Google docs, and it’s even open right now as I write this, but this list is different. It has five items on it, and two of them are, as they say, “bought and paid for” already. One is our regular summer trip to the coast, the other a visit to the mountains to visit a longtime friend. Two of the remaining destinations are places I hope we can work in, but if we don’t, oh well. The fifth is the pool, and we’ve already been there several times so I’m totally marking that one off already. Progress!

We’ve also done some things that weren’t on the list: Trent and I assembled a bed for our daughter–“the bed she will have until she goes to college,” he told me, making it less furniture assembly event and more rite of passage–and moved her old twin bed into our son’s room where his crib used to stand. We went to a local street fair with live music and food trucks and ice cream, and played at a park where there’s a train and a carousel, and spent a few days with my California sister and her kids, whom we hadn’t seen in almost three years. Trent and I enjoyed our annual adult pool day, compliments of church camp and a babysitter, where I read an entire book and may have forgotten to wear sunscreen because I wasn’t applying it to small people like usual. We’ve watched a few movies and listened to lots of music and played our new favorite game, Bears vs. Babies. Trent brewed two batches of beer. I sat with a friend who lost her son this week and held her hand while we talked about our kids. There are some things you don’t put on a list, things you don’t plan for, but they happen anyway. Life is like that.

I’ve decided that this will be a “life is like that” kind of summer, and it feels like a giant exhale. Sure, I have things I’d like to do–take the kids to some museums and visit out-of-state family, plant some flowers, paint my dining room furniture, run or work out every morning. Things I need to do, like clean out a few closets, cut the grass, write every day, run or work out every morning. If those things get done I’ll be glad, but if they don’t I will remind myself I was likely doing something else instead, like watching Daniel Tiger learn how to use his words with a small boy curled up next to me, or kicking a soccer ball back and forth with my daughter, breaking every few minutes so she can work on her rainbow, and anything that didn’t get done will still be waiting for us tomorrow, or the next day.

What’s on your summer list…or not?

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