Reflections on a Summer

This was the summer when:

  • E started walking and I felt both joyful for him and exhausted because he is always on the go.
  • Upon my sister’s advice, I rolled E’s bedtime back an hour and we spent that extra time reading books in the rocking chair (and rereading, rereading, rereading Moo, Baa, Lalala, his favorite) and listening to a gem of a CD: Martha Stewart’s Baby Sleepytime.
  • We attempted a few projects: finger painting, coloring, photo shoots and while the results were as expected with a young child, bubbles seemed to always be a fitting conclusion to those efforts.
  • Nature saved us: whether that was walking up and down the path to our steps and playing in the rocks, exploring every corner of the library parking lot or walking along the bike path, on our worst days, if we could just get outside, everything was better.
  • We found our friends, at new parks in the city, museums, farmers’ markets, ice cream shops and actually had time to chat and to listen.
  • We embraced No-Agenda Sundays, where we had loosely defined ideas of what we could do and if none of them got done and we instead simply went for a walk, or sat on our steps, or ate pancakes instead? Well, that was perfectly acceptable.
  • We went home again, realizing that every time we do, he is different and I am, too. My mother didn’t drive me nuts this time and it’s largely because I allowed myself to simply be in the space with her, to accept her for who she is at this moment, not the person I remembered her as being when I was a child. E soaked up the love from his cousins, and my sisters, and when my mom texted me upon our return to Boston and told me I was a good mom, I cried.
  • For the first time in my life, my summer program felt like work and I think that change is because I felt worn out for most of the summer. August set me to rights, though, as well as knowing I’ll have a different schedule next summer (phew). I can’t quite imagine not doing it, so I’m relieved for this adjustment.
  • We practiced lots of “parallel reading” wherein E would page through his books (so many about trucks and things that go!), either at his small table or on the living room floor while I sat beside him leafing through my dwindling stack of magazines, O, Food and Wine, Real Simple, Southern Living, stopping to show him a particularly delectable dish.
  • Pea fritters. I had to pack his lunch for his time he spent with his summer nanny (which also made me grateful for not having to do this year round), and he always ate the fritters. Always. Thanks to my friend who told me I could fritter anything… (and here’s the recipe).
  • Summer tasted like tomatoes. A friend around the corner insisted we pick hers because she was away for much of the season, so we did, again and again and again. Then, in KY, we ate more. All I wanted when we arrived was to see my family and to eat a tomato. They taste different there, are somehow able to make the time spent away and the distance between us seem less…
  • I have yet to create a baby book of E’s first year but I was determined to complete a book of our summer, and I did! For some reason, I think looking through that book will keep me going (particularly during the snow) because truly, this has been a great summer. And while our time was spent mostly during ordinary things, it has been those things that have counted the most.

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