Learning to Summer.

The backyard is littered with brightly colored scattered toys. An old store-bought quilt with a green ink stain lay leaping distance from the bottom deck step, with a toddler Bible almost closed on top of it. The grimy blue kiddie pool is half full of water, that’s all it holds after 2 years of folding in half to dump it, and a silent water sprinkler sits dormant beside it.  The Mama’s-only chaise lounge with the pretty red pillow rests in the shade of the house, overlooking the yard full of happy wreckage. An exercise pen full of bunnies is covered in tree shadows, as it’s contents lounge lazily in the grass they are munching. Some of my smarter chickens scratch around the yard, always wary of the tormenting barn cat, while the lesser brained few stay cluelessly locked in the run. My children are swaying in the hammock while I push them firmly, and do imaginary voices for their resting rabbits as entertainment. We have finally gotten the hang of summer, and it only took us until July 11th to do it!

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We decided to quit having plans today just after lunch. Each child and myself agreed that we no longer wanted to leave the house, and not only that, but we loved being in our backyard even more than the house. This comes as no surprise to me. With each house we visited while shopping for this home, we started in the backyard. It was the deal breaker. We wanted a country feel in the near city area.

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And we got it. Everyone says we do within moments of setting foot in the backyard and viewing our mini-barn and critters. With those, and the newly updated “party deck,” (complete with eBay bulb lights and a bar stool dinette set) we are perfectly prepared to do nothing outside for as much as we can. Only took us 2 years to get there.

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Today’s afternoon was spent as all afternoons should be, I’m beginning to think. Girlchild read to us the birth of Jesus in Manchild’s toddler Bible for our Devotions  (we’d recently cleaned the house and no one could locate the actual Veggietales 365 Devotional we usually use). Manchild shoveled mini-roads into the sandy dirt, then dug tiny booby-traps in the grassy part of the yard for predators attempting to get his pets (it pays to be loved by Manchild). I taunted the hens by walking above them with a bowl full of ice cream. They follow me like greedy puppies with their faces looking towards the sky, having no idea how they would slurp up ice cream off the powdery dirt with no lips.  I love hens, but they are poor decision makers.

 

The kids played for quite a while in that small plastic pool. They were trying desperately not to out grow, knowing I can not wait to get rid of it. But today they set the sprinkler inside it, and screamed in horror as they were sprayed with the water. They slid down a tiny Playskool slide I drug over and flung half-way into the water.Then each took turns bossing each other around in their imaginative play.

I attempted to read Amos in my Bible, and pray for the world, Baltimore, and our friends. But the sky is so blue, and the clouds extra puffy, and the air just right for resting your eyes and breathing in Summer deeply and sloooowly… I drift in and out of focus, praising God for a life like this. Blessed seems to be too small of a word for what we have. I thank Him for my children.

It it weren’t for the struggles of the school year, we wouldn’t understand half of this glorious summer bliss. If it were not for the wars being raged, I would not cherish my freedom and cling to my faith. If it were not for the wicked ways people treat each other (myself included), I would not feel so compelled to love recklessly when I go out, to be sure each person I meet feels more valued than before.

Summer is beautiful, that’s easy to see, but because the other seasons make it so. After feet upon feet of snow this winter, and a shockingly cold spring, I’m soaking up these brilliant rays like a new flower. The kids and I are silently daring each other to unwind more, and hurry less. How long can we go on entertaining ourselves easily before some one wants to go somewhere? Let’s go as long as we can without making plans and leaving home!

To be frank, 6pm is when Girlchild and her fellow Aikido student, Captain Schenanigans, have to be at the dojo (Aikido studio) tonight. But instead of whimpering about staying home as usual, Manchild is excited because “now we can do whatever we want”! Manchild gets Summer now, too!

We decide on more time swinging in the hammock, then lots of time swinging on the tire swing in the front yard, then 4-5 books before bed. With all this “whatever we want” going on, I enjoyed getting to watch his little eyelids slam shut tonight about 3 minutes after his head it the pillow. Thumb in mouth, index finger hooked over the bridge of his nose, and done. Doing nothing is tiring when you are small!

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But all Summer days end in Summer nights, most of which are delightful and balmy. Assuming your hunting cat has not treed a now scream-chattering squirrel, before heading off to murder voles all night, then throw them about your backyard. Balmy doesn’t always mean tranquil, if you are a vole.

As for those who feel that Summer is not all rosebuds and day lilies,  please take note that I am presently taking a decongestant every 4 hours while I am wake, to prevent from wanting to rip my face off from sinus pain. I get it. This is the only drug that works out of 5 or 6 tried, and may explain a bit of my sleepy unfocused state while attempting to read Amos. Still totally worth it, I say, to pop my daily pills and live outdoors all season. Because those fireflies are not going to catch themselves, and everyone sleeps better after doing nothing in the Summer sun!

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