And if you ask any Chicagoan, why in the world would we choose to live here, where the winters are six months long and frigid, the landscape is flat and uninspiring (hello, miles and miles of corn fields), and the potholes on the road might as well be craters, not to mention the horrendous traffic congestion during rush hour, we would probably give you a one-word response: summer.
We live for the summer.
Even rainy ones, because when My Guy needs to take the girls out to burn energy after a rain, this happens, much to their sheer and utter delight.
When we live only two doors down from the beach, where Lake Michigan dazzles us with a different shade of shimmering blue or green on most days, it’s difficult not to jump on the first chance to get outside this season.
Because we know how fleeting this time is.
So we literally get down on our hands and knees and relish every moment we have in the sun. Even if it means sweeping and vacuuming three times a day and still finding sand in our beds. ($*@%$*!) Maybe that part I won’t miss so much.
Sure, it can get a little hot and humid around here, too, but that’s what these things are for right?
His and hers.
Also, as of mid-June, Little Miss has been at home with us for the summer. We’ve been trying to keep her active and busy with Play Camp, play dates, and swim classes, and it’s a good plan until I realize that her activities are keeping me busy too, what with the ferrying to and fro events on top of trying to manage a semi-clean house (because clean-clean with two kids at home all day is as commonplace as a unicorn in my car), feeding hungry little and not-so-little people (and they’re always hungry!), and working on a pretty intense part-time project that’s monopolizing my time when the girls are asleep or away.
However, in between scheduled activities, I give her impromptu mani-pedis and she spends hours (okay, maybe an hour at most, which is still a lot for a girl who normally has ants in her pants) reading her library books when her sister is napping. But she’s reading. READING!!!
And while she develops this newfound passion, I continue to nurture mine, although I have to admit, running in this heat s.u.c.k.s. It is painful to run a mile with the sun beating down on me, let alone five, so I have to get my sorry ass out of bed before my kids do in the morning to get my run in.
Let me tell you, I’m not enjoying that part. My nocturnal self hates my alarm in the morning, but I still drag myself out of bed because every time I do get out there, I appreciate the quiet, early-morning streets of a still-slumbering city that affords me much needed tranquility, and, at the end, I am rewarded with this view.
I also thought, hey, if I kept signing up for races, I’d have to continue to run to train in this heat. Uhm…no…that’s not happening. This race happened in early June, before it was officially summer, but even then it was a struggle. My self-preservation instincts are telling me that I won't be crossing another finish line again until after September.
But let’s not even go there yet. We just celebrated the Fourth of July, and it feels like summer is finally in full swing.
On Independence Day, we took the girls to Navy Pier, the city’s epicenter of all Fourth of July’s activities, because we’re crazy like that. In our defense, we wanted to cross two things off our Summer Musts list – the giant Ferris Wheel and a skyline tour / boat ride on Lake Michigan.
The girls were over the moon, but Little Miss was especially excited because these were promises we made in the bitter cold of winter, when the lake and Ferris Wheel were the last places we’d want to be.
And suddenly, here we are, in the heart of summer, making good on our promises, and that, in itself, felt amazing too.
That night, the girls miraculously stayed up two hours past their bedtime and sat on our laps on the beach as we watched the fireworks light up the night sky. They did remarkably well for us that day, and I couldn’t remember a more perfect Fourth of July celebration.
But it’s not always about perfection. In fact, we’re often far from it. There are still tantrums and mayhem, but forgiving and forgetting come easier when there’s so much else to look forward to and to be thankful for in the moments between.
Like savoring the sweetness of friendships and ice cream, (re)discovering the magic of fireflies, finding joy in the morning songs of the birds, enjoying the sensation of when our feet first sink into the soft, cool sand, and loving the mixed, intoxicating scent of BBQ, flowers, and rain in the air, reminding us to slow our gait and inhale deeply, deliberately.
Not unlike my two-year-old, who does the same thing: “You hmell (smell) that mommy? It hmellth goooood.”
Oh, yes it does, Pickle. Yes, it does.
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p.s. Whaddya know? This is my 300th post! I probably could have reached it a little sooner in the three and a half years of blogging, but as you can see from the above, I’ve been a little busy, savoring, loving, living.
Hope you’re doing the same, wherever you are, whatever season you’re in.