At our house, summer means pool days, beach outings, too-late bedtimes, s’mores around the fire pit, dinner in the courtyard, and all things charcuterie (or, as we called it growing up, “snack plate”). Summer means, after kids’ bedtime, Steve and I sit on the back patio and watch the sky change while we talk, sip, snack.
Summer is looser, laxer, lazier. And we like it that way.
What is better than eating outside under a canopy of white lights with the fountain flowing, Pandora playing, and chilly Sauvignon Blanc in your glass? What is better than tan lines and baby girl belly and buns squeezing out of a pink bikini? What is better than—with the constant allure of electronics—hearing the sound of your kids splashing and laughing in the pool?
As I prepare for this particular summer, our last before Luke and Lane are officially in school, I’m aware of the temptation to get urgent about “making memories” and “making every moment count” and “making the most of these eight weeks.” I’m all-too-aware of the pressure that can sometimes feel like panic to “be present.”
Some of us do well with a blank canvas and all its infinite possibilities. Some of us find that lack of structure uncomfortable. Regardless, summer ushers in a new normal, and new normals always require a bit of adjusting.
Summer bucket lists, while sometimes helpful, can also put pressure on us to go, do, spend, keep up with her amazing Instagram feed . . . when summer might just be waiting for us right here, in our own backyard.
I want this to be a memorable summer for Luke and Lane, but I’m resisting the temptation to try and make it “epic.” What I find when I’m overly focused on memory-making is that I end up achieving crazy-making. I don’t want to, in my attempts to make memories, make everyone around me (including myself) nuts.
I’m inviting all of us to take ourselves off the big hook of expectations and epic experiences and simply slip into this summer wearing our cutest suit (I’m going for a black monokini), a darling sun hat that oozes confidence, a pretty pedicure, and a whole soul.
Let’s try new things, explore, strike out . . . but let’s do all that from a place of breath and not breathlessness.
Let’s enjoy our summer instead of endure our plans.
Let’s be a companion to ourselves this summer . . . as the schedules change and as we must tolerate ourselves (no, celebrate ourselves!) in a bathing suit far more than we’d probably prefer.
Let’s hold our plans loosely and our loved ones tightly.
And let’s make—if we’re going to make anything this summer—our days be a resounding “thank you” to the Summer Maker.
Pace with grace, as my friend Joanna would say. Pace with grace.