The summer heat can often be unbearable in central and south Texas. The days are glaringly bright and filled with sweltering humidity and hot-air breezes. As we settled into our new home, I found the heat settling in as well, deeper and deeper into the morning hours.
I instantly began longing for the cooler days, the months of October, November, and December, my favorite time of the year, when I can open the windows and let in the coolness of the season. “I can’t wait for fall,” I kept thinking to myself, longing for pumpkin and cinnamon smells and ivory Christmas decor.
And then, somewhere in the midst of my thoughts, I heard laughter as our girls ran back and forth through the sprinkler. “Look, Mommy! Look! Look at us!”
I watched them in their floral bathing suits, their bare feet jumping in the midst of sprinkled water and wet, dewy grass. I watched her chubby cheeks and tiny toes. I saw how her dark, brown hair stuck to her face as she smiled with her eyes shut and splashed the water toward herself. I listened to their giggles, their joy, their excitement, and I realized that these days would have no where to be in the cooler season.
As I sat and longed for what was to come, I realized how very much I had done just that in the past. As a child, I remember days where I couldn’t wait to grow up. I couldn’t wait to drive or be out on my own. I couldn’t wait to graduate from college and start my new job. I couldn’t wait to get married or for our son to be born. I couldn’t wait to be done with morning sickness and pregnancies, couldn’t wait for the sleepless nights to end or for the diaper stage to be over, and on it went.
As I sat with the same emotions at heart, I realized that those big events, the ones I couldn’t “wait for,” they came and went and were special in their way, but it was those days in between that I often didn’t give the credit they deserved. It was in those days of waiting that I wish I had held on a little longer. I wish I could feel my babies in my belly for one more day or remember what life was like when it was just my husband and me. I wish I could carry our son again or have him reach for my hand like he used to. I wish I could hear my little girl’s voice, when she couldn’t say the “f” sound and replaced it with “p”. “This is pun!” or “That’s so punny!” I remember her saying. How I wish I could remember how she sounded. I wish I could go back for just a second longer to see my baby girl’s tiny legs and arms, her hazel green eyes staring up at me into the morning hours of the night.
I let so many of those days slip right through my fingers. In the midst of the “heat” or the discomfort, I didn’t give them the value that I should have. And yet, it was right there in the middle that my memories lay, nestled deeply in the mundane and the ordinary. It was in those quieter moments, when no one was looking, that the most special of days were actually lived. It was in those spaces where I was surrounded by the people I love. It was in those everyday interactions where our lives were being woven together: the talks, the hugs, the snuggles and laughter, and sometimes, the tears.
As I sat and watched our girls go back and forth, I realized that our son no longer found the sprinkler as exciting as he had just the year before. I realized how much could change from one summer to the next and knew that it wouldn’t be long before our 5 year-old felt the same way.
I soon realized that where I was sitting was exactly where I needed to be–not longing for the next season–simply living right where I was. It was there that I could soak it all in.
This is the summer of nine, five, and two. This is the summer where our 9-year-old son found his love for music and blasted his electric guitar and drum set as he put on concerts for us all. This is the summer where our 5-year-old daughter found joy in running with a trailing kite or riding her bike with her legs in the air. This is the summer where our 2-year-old daughter jumped for joy among the bubbles and pushed alongside her sister on her baby-pink tricycle.
This is the summer of cantaloupe slices and homemade ice cream, watermelon popsicles and Topo Chico. This is the summer of late-night chats on the deck with my husband, soft music and an orchestra of cicadas playing in the background. This is the summer when the doe and her fawn grazed in our backyard grasses, and the children found excitement in capturing bugs and insects of all sizes.
This is the summer of wagon rides and new plants, splash pads and playdates, the summer when we fed the ducks and waded in the river, jumped on the trampoline and swung through the trees.
This. Right here. Right now.
In the midst of the heat and the glaring, bright sun are these wonderful days “in-between”–a special season all its own, one that will never come again. This is the summer of nine, five, and two. The summer of thirty-nine and forty-three. The summer of 2017.
This is our summer, and I am so very grateful to be right in the middle of it all.