“Summer’s over. It’s bedtime, guys.”
I kissed both boys’ foreheads, ran my hand around the exterior of their cheeks. Pressed my face into their hair and squeezed a foot or two.
It was Tuesday night, and school started the next morning. 7:55am, sharp. Summer was stolen away by moments lost, but not forgotten. Remembered well and with full hearts.
“Summer went fast,” one boy commented into his pillow. The other grunted in agreement. They both wriggled against their comforters, tired but not willing to take on sleep quite yet. I didn’t blame them. I’m not old enough that I’ve forgotten about saying goodbye to summer’s spell.
We prayed. For their first day of school, their teachers and classmates, our family and friends, for two boys in Africa we’ve never met and the orphanage and people who care for them. We thanked. Especially for Jesus.
Thank You, Lord.
For a summer that flew with broad wings and bright eyes and a swoop I’ve not experienced yet. Each year life steps more quickly, gaining marching momentum that shows in inches grown and mature questions and feet that match up to mine.
I shake off the emotion and say goodnight. There are lunches to pack and clothes to lay out. Nostalgia to swallow in painful gulps, too.
Days later, on the drive home from school, we talked about our favorite summer memories. Of what we enjoyed most during the humid, sun-lit and thunderstorm-filled, sleep-soaked days off from school and schedule.
May’s memories are of a picturesque Bed and Breakfast in Salem, South Carolina, where breakfast was delicious, our rooms cozy and comfortable, and the peace wrapped around us, cocoon-like. Where we hiked and fished, walked barefoot in crisp waterfalls, shot hoops and read a book a day.
June brought birthdays and beach days with family, an adventurous outing to Shark Tooth Beach and handfuls of just that – those….shark teeth. Relaxing in the Gulf and snorkeling after needle fish and ice cream treats rinsed off in beach showers.
Favorite memories? Easily it’s after the beach one day in mid-June, when an unexpected vehicle pulled in front of our house and the boys’ delight was written in bright smiles and excited words. Former neighbors, now out-of-state special friends were in town visiting, weaving hours and days together and memories made, after two years apart, at last.
A seed was also born in June, one birthed from an idea of my older son which set to budding in my imagination – a Christian fantasy story for children his age.
“You should write books for kids….”
How many times my mom softly prodded me with these words, and how very much I’ve enjoyed brainstorming and writing this middle grades/Young Adult story that has exploded in my mind and taken up much of my (free?) time. I yearn to get to it even now, as I write this.
July brought more fun friend and family visits, book-toting trips to and from the library, and evening moments bouncing on a hose-soaked trampoline, dodging mosquitoes and water balloons. In between were minutes and hours of reading, drawing, errand-running (errands were made bearable by the wonderful Jonathan Park audio series on CD), and two Jesus-filled weeks of VBS, one week at their school’s church and the second at our church.
Another of the summer’s best memories and spiritual lessons had to do with trusting God in my reticence and insecurity then seeing – yet again, always – His glory revealed through those around me and through the Church loving on one another. Through the Holy Spirit leading and directing.
Helping the teens at our church prepare for their (phenomenally done) VBS skit is a memory I’ll cherish and one I thank God for.
School and homework have taken the lead with a commanding schedule and shortening sunlit evening hours. The fast-paced future may try to steal summer away, but memories can’t be taken. They’re to be cherished.
I pray you and yours have a safe and blessed school year.
“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'” (John 7:37-38)