Last night, we squeezed in the last* of our Summer "Learn to Try" challenges and hosted a mega dance party. Our friends and neighbors joined us in the driveway for drinks, cookies, and lots of silliness to celebrate the end of summer and start of school.
Thank the lord, I wasn't sure this day would ever come. So, on this high note that is the last day of summer, I'm thinking I should focus on something like I did on the first.
More than getting to check fun things off a list, I feel fortunate. We won summer. To be more precise, my kids won summer. I got to drive the team support van with the snacks and towels. And, most days that felt like winning.
If I were giving an award acceptance speech and had unlimited time, here’s what I’d say. I've thrown in some random, never-before-posted pictures. I know, I'm excited too.
I’m thankful for Youtube videos. There’s a lot of random shit out there, but some of it is really helpful. Thanks to all the girls who took time to shoot, edit, and post cartwheel training videos.
I’m thankful for our neighbors for, like, 1,000 reasons. One of those reasons is that they don’t mind (or call the cops) when you go in their yard at night with kids in pajamas to catch a bug.
I’m thankful for food- whole, healthy food. I’m thankful for the one gazillion recipes out there on the internet. Without trying every single one of these, we wouldn’t have found the three my kids will eat. Eating whole foods in our house isn’t easy. We’re not “there” yet (and where “there” is changes daily.) So, I’m not giving up on this moving target.
I’m thankful to have time off from work and money going on vacation. My kids are the second generation to enjoy regular, planned family trips. A vacation is not something either of my parents really had growing up. And, they changed that for us with some tortuous drives to beautiful places. Now, we seem to be upping the ante. Instead of a stack of coloring books and the single of Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All,” our kids get a stack of DVDs and access to literally every song ever recorded.
I’m thankful for our Falls Church, VA community and the value we all put on giving back to others. I’m also thankful for the encouragement that comes from those around you when starting something.
I’m thankful for natural beauty all around us. Creating a bouquet became a metaphor for me about arranging the things I have (possessions, activities, obligations, etc.) in a way that brings more happiness. Nature is also a reminder to enjoy the moment. It doesn’t last forever, and that’s okay because it comes back in other ways. I’m also thankful for wine.
I’m thankful for people who rush in to help- even when it’s gross and inconvenient. I spend most days trying not to ask for too much. But still every single day, I cross paths with people going out of their way to make things a little better for me, for us. I love you and thank you.
Lastly, I’m thankful we can stop and be silly. To choose to spend a couple of hours dressing up, dancing, and eating too many treats is a gift and privilege so many people don’t have. And, I struggle with this. How can we laugh when others are hurting? Eat chocolate chip cookies when others haven't eaten in days? Stay up late playing with a glow-in-the-dark balloon when some places it’s unsafe to go outside after dark?
I search daily for the right answer. Today, it’s to be grateful. It’s also to stay aware and vigilant, do what we can through encouragement and support, keep others in our hearts and heads, and to learn with my kids how to steer into a better future for all.
I’d especially like to thank the following people. Brian for being my Superman. Mom and Dad for being the change. Lynda for always being one call (or emoji-laden text) away. My sisters Anna and Molly who make me laugh and make me think. My friends Carrie, Sarah, Benita, Jen, Aime, Christy, Sara, and Katharine for keeping things in perspective. For my cherished clients who trust me. For all of the people- Jesus, Rosario, Bill, Clara, my beloved UPS drivers, and the team of Peapod delivery men who help keep our life more or less on schedule. I'd buy you all a Pumpkin Spice latte if I could. Bring it, Fall. We got this!
*For those keeping score at home, you'll note that 2 summer challenges are missing. The girls did ride horses. My mom took them to a lesson last week while they were enjoying some time at Grandma and Opa Summer Camp for spoiled grandchildren. She has some great insights regarding girls and horses that she's going to write. I'll share her guest blog post later in the month. We also haven't yet slept in the massive 8-person tent (more like my first apartment) we bought last Spring. Brian is scoping out weekends this Fall. More to come on that too.