Summer of Love

My kids go back to school on Tuesday. I have had moments of true sorrow over this fact. Actual tears have been shed behind my sunglasses while driving in the car listening to cheesy love songs which seem to me in my frame of mind to be meant only for mothers to sing to their children.

Like this one-it came on in the car the other day, and I can't tell you the hard work it was not to embarrass my sons by choking out between strangled sobs that this song was how I felt about them.. (And my daughter of course, but she was not in the car). Check out the cheese for yourself.

Gulp...sniff. You want some crackers with that? But tell me...don't you feel just a tiny bit choked up by those sentiments? Oh you know you do.

This has been perhaps my favourite Summer ever with my kids. I have loved (almost) every minute of being with them. Even though we have had our regular moments of irritation and exasperation with each other, I feel like we have begun to relate on a new, more equal level and I have relished it. Running with Benjamin has been something I will always treasure. He has been generous with his trust and sharing the things going on in his head and life with me on our long runs. I feel closer then ever to him at an age where kids often seem to become more private. It's been a privilege and a joy and definitely a major highlight.

The sense of knowing none of this will last forever, makes it all the more precious, and the going back to school (boo, hiss) part all the more poignant. This moment in time will pass- with all my chicks still happily in my nest. I feel that with each Summer that passes, it is one less when all my kids are happiest being with their parents and their siblings, when nobody is moody and staring darkly into the distance, brooding over their latest crush, wishing they were somewhere else. When we can be heroes simply by providing a lake to swim in, sand to dig in, and an ice cream cone. (Although, if they are anything like me, this will remain the case for the rest of their lives).

My point is, life is simple now, my children are content, and I know less complicated times are inevitable. It's just a good time, right now. I wish I could bottle it.

Yesterday, we escaped to the beach for the day. It was irresponsible. My to-do list read like a joke. It was insane. I should have been anywhere but the beach. But I looked ahead on the calendar in my head, and realized that with soccer and school looming, a simple family day with just each other, no distractions, was nowhere in our near future. The weather was perfect, I felt compelled to seize the day. Literally. Blow off obligations and commitments, and take it for our own. So we did. I hate it when people do that. I think it's shocking. But I don't regret it at all. So maybe I'll be less judgmental about flakes in the future.

It's a 3.5 hour drive to get to the beach. And that is how long it took me to fill out the combined paperwork of 4 school-children. The paperwork. Seriously? Must we? It is insane. Our family alone took care of a small forest's worth of paper. (Most of it redundant and unnecessary). The number of times I have to write my address, my phone number, the number and address of my friends, neighbours and casual acquaintances all on the SAME PAGE at times, is crazy. It's madness I tell you! Sometimes I wonder if I'm being punked and I'll bring all those manila folders to school on Tuesday and Ashton Kutcher will jump out from behind a water fountain and say, "dude! I can't believe you actually filled all those in! Do you not have a life??" Why no, Ashton, apparently I do not.

It. Is. Insane. Three and a half hours. And I am not a slow writer. My hand was frozen into a claw shape by the time we got there. But it was done. I literally wrote the name of my dentist's dog for the last time on the last line on the very. last. form of the last child as we pulled up to the shore. Perfect.

The sun was beating down, the sand was hot, hot, hot, the waves were lapping. The people were smoking. ...wha??? *I interrupt this idyllic moment for a bit of a rant.*

{ HOW, in the Land of My Rights, and extensive litigation for any semblance of Violating My Rights, is it still LEGAL FOR PEOPLE TO SMOKE ON THE BEACH???? I can think of few things more in violation of my rights then someone contaminating my fresh air. Drinking is illegal on the beach, but I find it a heck of a lot less intrusive and offensive. When I went to considerable trouble to be in a place where me and my family can be at one with nature, and breathe fresh air, I think it is pretty unfair to be forced to inhale the ever so trendy his-and-her stogies of the uber-hip couple lounging up-wind. Or the cheap ciggies of the couple to my right sitting with their baby. Awesome. I am really allergic to cigarette smoke. Even when it is outside. It instantly swells my nasal passages and congests me I feel very nauseated and all this somehow seems to trigger my groovy adrenaline disorder so in a minute or two I get the shakes too. So while they are mellowing out with their smoke I am the breathless, pukey shaky wreck. This strikes me as unfair. /Rant. Happily the smokers seemed to get it over with after a while and all was well again.}

Being the weekend, the beach was much busier then the last time we went there but I grew up with crowded beaches so it was festive, and apart from the smoking interludes, I loved it. As the sun was starting to sink in the sky we made our way up to the snack bar for the requisite soft serve ice-cream cone. We sat on the benches overlooking the lake and I solemnly requested of my children that they cease to grow up. I have requested/demanded this of them before, but they never heeded me. This time, however, I asked them if they thought they would be happy if time was frozen where it was right now...for a while...maybe a few more years until I got used to the idea of them getting a bit older. Each one of them agreed that this would be cool. Each one of them is happy with their stage of life, all of them are having a good time. When I asked them for one word to describe their Summer they said Fun. Benj added, "and quick" Do you see why I would like to freeze time?! All four of my kids are happy. Is there anything more I could want out of life?

When I was pregnant with Benjamin, I told my dad, as all expectant parents do, that I had no preference for a boy or a girl, I just wanted a healthy child. "You want a happy child he corrected me. " Yes, but healthy" I said. Happy he repeated. Over the years I have realized the wisdom in these words. I know many joyful children with health challenges, the two are not mutually exclusive. Their parents despite their worries and stress are often happy too. I know other children who are physically healthy but not happy and their parents are not happy. I have never known the parents of a miserable child to be at peace. I wonder if it is possible to be happy if your children aren't? I suppose it is, but so far, I can't imagine managing that.

And so I treasure these perfect, happy days and hoard them in my memory and my heart in a very greedy manner. I feel blessed. We haven't been on expensive trips, we haven't even been to an amusement park or even the fair. We haven't done anything of great note, really. But we've been together and happy. I think that makes this the best Summer ever.

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MrsM said...

How cool! I love relishing in moments like that with the kidlets-they do grow up way too fast.

Lynn from For Love or Funny said...

I'll be thinking of you on Tuesday...Luckily, we have a couple more weeks before schools starts, and I'll miss the kids terribly.

In the meantime, I should get some of our school paperwork done...3 hours!? Wow.

jill said...

Okay my Dear, here is the paperwork trick for a family of four. You fill out one sheet minus the individual childs name, bday, etc. and then copy it. That way all you have to do is fill out the info once. Yes the offices do have everything color coded that's why I print it in color. The extra ink is worth my not filling out paperwork. I can't believe I didn't tell you this before!

Kirsty said...

Hey Jill, You know what? I actually knew that trick and YET I didn't use it. How dumb am I?

I figured I had nothing better to do in the car, and I didn't get around to buying all the different colours yet and blahblahblah. I still think they just need to have a database which cross references all the info and save about a million trees.

Kallie said...

love love love it. i contantly need to be reminded to enjoy the now -- i have no idea why? 'cause usually i do, but i forget several times a day.

Dorkys Ramos said...

What a lovely post! You guys look so happy in those pictures. Thanks for the reminder to seize the day, throw care to the wind and just enjoy life. Looks like you've done all three this summer.

And I love this song! I have a certain college friend who still thinks of me when she hears it and I think of her when I sing along to the radio. It actually reminds me of Dawson's Creek since that's when I first heard it aaages ago. Great lyrics :)

By the way, thanks so much for entering my giveaway and for following!

nyn said...

As always loving your post! I know the pain of filling out papers. My problem is that I apparantly missed mutiple papers for each child so I am STILL filling them out a week into it. GEEZ!!
Love the beach pictures and family trip idea. We did that the day before school too. Shae took the day off and we just had fun as a family.
Good luck with the first day!

Anonymous said...

Oh boo hoo!!!! I always read your blog at work so there I was, ear phones on, snuvelling away, and praying that someone did not walk into the office and say "Oh, what is wrong Gina??" What would I say "I'm crying because my daughter is a great mom, and enjoys her kids to the full??" Does not make any sense. I SO relate to all you said. Makes me think that Janine's family had the right idea when her dad uses to declare "Gray's Public Holidays" and they all stayed home and slept late! Lovely, lovely blog!!
Love you.