I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been more ready for sweatshirts, apple cider, pumpkins, and leaves so colorful they sparkle in the sun. Every time summer rolls around and I anticipate being sprawled out on the beach for months-on-end, the calendar gets clogged before June has a chance to even bloom. We’ve had such a blast this summer as a family. Jack and I got our pails, shovels, and beach towels out a few times and headed for the lake. Our munchkin even took swim lessons to improve his aquatic skills–and it really made a difference. We also were poolside quite a bit, practicing our paddling, kicking, and bubble-blowing. Josh and Jack have “gone to the woods” several times on hikes (mom is not allowed). We’ve been to a thousand parks, been on weekly picnics, and the sprinkler has been dually purposed as a bath.
We’ve also taken to the fountain downtown where Jack can run wild and mom can sit and relax…simultaneously.
We also took a vacation with my family that was busy, rambunctious, and completely wonderful, also involving a lot of swimming, grilling, and everything else summer-like. We celebrated Jackson’s 3rd birthday pirate-style with two parties, one for friends and the other for family. And Josh impressed me (as he does regularly) with a homemade pirate cake.
The summer has been packed. And I’m just realizing how quickly these days are flying by. Tomorrow night is Jackson’s preschool orientation meeting. Every so often, I experience these moments where I can’t believe–I truly cannot believe–that I am here. I’m twenty-nine. I have a three-year-old. And he’s self-sufficient enough to put a little backpack on stuffed with crayons and go to preschool. I just can’t believe it. And I just can’t thank God enough for the beautiful, messy, amazing years that have brought me here.
One of the highlights of the summer (perhaps the greatest one) was being a part of a wedding ceremony so precious, so sacred, and so personal, it felt even more powerful than my own wedding. Our friends Josh and Kristi got hitched. And they loved us enough to have all three Bishops in the wedding party. It was an honor to attend every shower and party, celebrating friends of ours that feel like they’re even closer than family. I loved making fabric flowers, stamping invitations, assembling ribbon bouquets, and sending my little stud muffin downtown for his tux fitting. The wedding was the second of the summer that touched my heart in a special way, but this one sunk in so deeply, it felt almost like I was marrying (my) Josh the same day. Love was not only in the air, it was clouding around everyone. The Kingdom of God grew stronger that day as our dear friends committed their humble, beautiful selves to each other. And the evening ended with the perfect combination of dancing, wine, tears, and laughs. It rounded off the summer so beautifully, and if I could, I would participate in this wedding all over again…
However, time is marching on. The fall is looming around the corner, sending its previews in the forms of a breeze or a chai latte. My graduate school program launched last month, and by September I’ll be fully entrenched as my courses become more and more demanding. Jack won’t be the only one with a backpack to keep stocked. I’m excited for my fall classes, especially when the air gets a little crisper and apple orchards get crowded…it’ll be a joy to be back in JP’s booths working on a paper. There is something so comforting for me when the structure and responsibilities of autumn start taking shape. Life isn’t easier, but it feels more durable, more dependable.
But before we make any apple-picking plans, there is one more adventure for the summer. In two days, Jackson and I will board a plane to Baltimore. We’re off to spend a week with Granny and Grandpa in Philadelphia. I’m thrilled to be able to spend quality time with my boy on an adventure all our own. And hopefully this trip will be the perfect lid for such an intense and busy summer. I’ve loved every hot dog on the grill, every batch of homemade salsa, every splash in the pool…but it feels good to look forward to toastier days, wondering how God is going to pry open our doors this fall with opportunity, growth, and…who knows?…perhaps expansion.
For now, I’ll continue basking in the sun for as long as it will have me…feeling totally overwhelmed with the amount of love and blessing that fills my life every single day.