*Author’s Note: this post was originally published in 2014. It’s been updated with new images and links, and I’ve added some bits and pieces to the story. I hope you enjoy it.
If I had to pick a favorite season, and it would be very hard, I’d have to choose summer. When I had a growing family, summer was our time to be together. No schedules, no school, and no homework. I absolutely loved it. I was always so ready for the last day of school, and so NOT ready for school to start in the fall.
When both of my kids were in grade school, I was blessed to find a job in our school system with a schedule that revolved around them…so when they were home, I was too. Looking back on the summers in my past, I can honestly say that they were the best times of my life.
The Growing Years
Every summer when my kids were young, we spent long days at the pool. We ate fresh fruit, corn on the cob, and grilled hotdogs. There were bike rides, and trips to the park to swing. Sweet days that, looking back, were some of the best in my life. I wish I would have realized that at the time. I wish I would have taken more pictures, and let my kids stay up late. Other than that, I have no regrets. They came first, and I am very grateful I was able to spend every summer with them.
As my kids grew, so did their interests, and our summers became busy. My son was a golfer, so we traveled to just about every golf course in Northwest Ohio. I learned the importance of keeping your head down, and filling in your divots. My daughter was a dancer, and I learned that dancers are athletes at heart. I learned how to set a pony tail with sponge rollers so it curled beautifully, and I never missed a competition.
I spent a lot of time in my car…but it was the perfect time to talk to my kids, so I never minded. Some of our best conversations happened in the car. Together with my husband, the four of us discovered Niagara Falls, the mountains of Colorado, and the beaches at Hilton Head. We spent relaxing Sunday afternoons with my parents, and ate a lot of ice cream.
Off To College
Then one summer things changed. I found myself shopping for dorm decor, and stocking up on shampoo. I bought a futon when I wasn’t even sure what it was. I packed up my daughter, and even though it was nearly impossible, left her standing in the parking lot outside of her college dorm. To this day I can still see her there, waving at us as we drove away. That was the beginning of a different sort of life for my family.
After that, summers were never the same, and they flew by in a blur. Four years later, I was moving my daughter into an apartment, and moving my son into a dorm room. Summer days were no longer filled with activity and places to go. They were filled with gardening, reading, and DIY projects around the house. I discovered slow living, and suddenly had time for all the projects I had been putting off. I had time to sit on my porch, and remember summers past.
The Empty Nest
It was during one very hot summer a year or so after my son graduated from college that I came to the painful realization that I was alone. I had my husband, my parents, and my friends…but my kids now had lives of their own. They had moved away, and even though I was very proud of their success, all I wanted to do was turn back time.
I also realized that I wasn’t in the best of shape, physically or mentally. It was time to take control, and figure out how to carry on with this new way of life. I had to find a way to regain my health, and accept my situation as it was. I was not, and never will be, a gracious empty nester. But figure it out I did, and life went on.
Which brings me to where I am now…writing this in my office, in our downsized home, on a perfect Ohio summer day. Along with my story, I’ve included pictures of our home with touches of summer. Our little patio, our front porch, and our living room. Sunlight streaming though the windows, light accessories, and bright fabrics. Bringing summer into your home is as easy as buying fresh flowers or a watermelon at the grocery store. These touches of summer are important because they are small ways to remind us that it’s a short season…and that we must enjoy it while it’s here.
The summers in my life have taught me a great deal. Some lessons have been easier to learn than others…but they all have put me where I am today. Blessed with a home I love, and a family who loves me. I don’t see how I could possibly ask for more.
Thank you for stopping by, and for making it possible for me to spend all my summers at home.
FOR ANYONE WHO WANTS
A SIMPLER LIFE.
I’ve been there. I know how you feel.
I can help.