This is a simple story of a simple family trying to slow down this crazy life and enjoy the "moments"...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

This Summer

My father-in-law is calling this "The Summer That Wasn't."

Pretty poetic and insightful of my father-in-law.

School starts tomorrow.

We are headed back to the pool today (and we went yesterday too) to try and eke out the last dregs of summertime essence.

It seems crazily unbelievable that summertime--with all of its' plans and promises and sun-filled days--could have already come and gone.

I DID have lots of plans for this summer.
I was going to buy a desk for Ethan so he could learn to organize his school stuff.
I was going to go on a special birthday trip with my sister.
I was taking the kids to Georgia to visit my new niece.
Ethan was going to learn multiplication.
Carolyn was going to work on reading.
Bennett wanted to learn more math (who's kid IS he?).
We were going to build a new deck and patio for the backyard.
The kids and not me for real this time were going to take care of vegetable garden.
I was going to run the night-time races in Joplin.
We were going to have our annual firefly night.....


Most summer-ends I look back over my "list" and realize that we have only accomplished about half of the things on it.

This year.....pretty much nothing.

Most summer-ends I wish fervently for just one more week.

This year....I am torn.

While I wish we had more of a summer....
I suspect that even if there were 5 more weeks it still wouldn't really be "summer".
Maybe if we just hurry up and start the school year now....then we will just get closer to a "do-over" for next year's summer.

On the other hand...
I suppose we (we as a family, friend circle, community town and country) accomplished lots of things this summer that were nowhere in the universal vicinity of not on my "list":

--We learned to believe in tornado sirens
--I completely rearranged my priority list in life
--I learned exactly what should go into an emergency kit
--We discovered that an EF-5 does a much more thorough job of remodeling our back yard/deck than we ever could
--I WAY upped my dependence on God
--We tried to figure out the difference between "victim" and "survivor"
--RH and I helped bulldoze our own house
--We got a new house
--I learned that one hour in a mold-filled warehouse will yield one full day of coughing
--I discovered that I HATE excel spreadsheets
--We confirmed that a little Shake's frozen custard really CAN help most situations
--I realized that wearing makeup to church is pointless because I'm just going to cry it off anyway
--We learned that the strength of our town is unbelievable
--We found out just how amazing and loving our friends (and strangers) really are

Many more things could go on this list.
I may add them later.
I may not.

So we did have a "summer".
Not a normal one so much.  (understatement of a lifetime?)

I took the kids to Shake's this week (is that a recurrent theme in my life or what?).
We sat outside to enjoy our treat.

It stunk.
To the right is a smashed up untouched strip mall with nasty tornado puke all over.
To the left is the new Wallmart construction with the old Walmart remnants drifting over the parking lot.
Straight ahead is the moldy ruins of another strip mall.

Yeah....I know I could point out the analogy of finding beauty and creamy decadent  40,000 calorie heaven in the midst of ugliness....but to be honest?  I don't want to.  It was just sad.

Last night I drove down Main Street and was again sickeningly surprised by the block-after-block darkness separated by green and red glowing traffic lights.

I went to Carolyn's open house at her school and (although I've been to that school twice a week all summer and driven down the road even more than that) had to swallow really hard when I looked south and saw--not the neighborhood where I used to run and many of my friends lived....but gently rolling dirty hills.

So....what's the point of all of this?

Not too sure.

I guess that....with all of the talk about "new starts" and "fresh beginnings" for our town this school year (which I DO believe in and am amazed at all the work that's been accomplished to get the schools ready!) .....
Maybe I expected a feeling of closure on summer?
Maybe I thought that the "normal" would come back?
Or that there might be a "new normal" feeling? just feels like more changes.
More flux.

Change isn't always bad, you know.
It grows you.
It grows me.

Growth is good.

So maybe it's not the "summer that wasn't".
Maybe it's the "summer that wasn't what we expected".

You know how sometimes (oftentimes) after a "mixed" experience (for example....Disney World.  Fun times but hour long lines with cranky kids) only the good things are remembered (kids have NO recollection of the lines....just the fun)?

Maybe this summer....eventually.....can be like that?

I know we won't forget everything that happened on and after May 22nd....but maybe we will remember the good points of the summer too.

--We went to Oceans of Fun
--Ethan learned to dive and do a flip
--Bennett got to do a class III rapid in Colorado
--We did a family hike with SEVENTEEN of us up a beautiful mountain in Vail
--Carolyn figured out how to put her own hair in a ponytail

There WERE good things.
There WERE points of brightness amidst the blur of debris filled days.

So maybe one far far far away day....we can look back on the summer of 2011 as a
priority-shifting-really-hot-looking-toward-the-happy-things-very-grateful summer.

With lots of Shake's.


Sargarepa said...

Loved this. "The Summer that Wasn't What We Expected" is a perfect description. And I completely agree that Shake's really can make everything better :)

Vicki said...

I love your blog. :) I agree with everything you said. Summer was just very different this year, even for those of us who still have a house. We homeschool & I had so many "extra" things I wanted to do this summer and none of them ever happened. It's now time to start schooling again and it's just not the same....
We drove around Sunday after church, in some of the damaged areas and even though it's mostly clear, there are still quite a few places still "standing" and still smelling of "tornado puke." Definitely a different kind of summer. : ) Blessings to you & your family!

The Fruitful Family said...

I seriously cry every time I read your blog. You remind me of David in the Psalm . It's okay to be sad, even angry. It's okay to cry. Even to cry out to God. Yet you remember that He is good. And He is love. And He cares about every little detail in your life.

Ragamuffin Gal said...

I pray you have a blessed school year ~ I'd have to say your summer yielded more lessons than could ever be learned in an ordinary summer. Sweet peace and much love and prayers, Katie