Summer vacation began this afternoon in the usual way – with the balloon wreath dart game. This year, in addition to candy treats, I had mystery bags o’ goodies that included small items like these fake mustaches.
Most days, when I dropped the kids off at school this year, I would sing to them as they exited the car that I hoped they had a “super-fantastic ultra-terrific, the most amazing day!” We’re expecting no less this summer.
It began on Friday with the dance recital.
Phoebe tapped and plie’d.
And after a four year break, Lucy returned to the stage for her second-ever dance performance.
You’ll have to ask Dave how it went. Since I’d been to rehearsal and seen the show already, I agreed to be the one to remove Jack should he become a distraction, which he did. We walked the lobby, my boy and I, where he acted as host to all the other restless children that stopped by. He’d say hello, show them the water fountain, invite them to play. And for the first time in eight years, Dave saw a show.
The piano recital happened on Sunday.
Lucy played London Bridge.
Julia played the first movement of Beethoven’s Sonatina in G Major.
And Dave listened from the hallway with Jack.
It feels like Phoebe has been waiting forever to play ball. She’s watched her sisters do it her whole life. And she’s been asking for as long as she could say the words: “I play now?”
Last night, she had her first scrimmage. So we all put on our team shirts, packed up the snacks and toys and chairs, and headed to the field to watch her play.
We’ve gotten out the giant bubbles.
And ball season has officially begun. Lucy’s team kicked it off with their first game (and first win) last night.
Also, her first ever home run!
Julia’s team has their first game next week, and Phoebe’s team begins playing the following week. That’s three teams and thirty-two games. (Two games down, thirty to go!) And then, there will be tournaments!
This season marks Dave’s eighth year of coaching. Our kids have never played ball on a team their dad didn’t help coach, which hasn’t always been an easy feat. We are so very thankful he has a job and work schedule (along with some sleep deprivation and strategically planned vacation days) that have enabled him to pull it off. Because it’s his passion – not just ball, but teaching the kids to love playing the game. It’s something between them and him that I can only sit on the sidelines and feel honored to watch. It’s a strong thread in the fabric of our family and there’s enough of it that they can wrap themselves up in it and feel secure, long after the season is done.
I like to imagine a future once the kids are grown where part of coming home includes an enormous family game. I’ll lead the cheering section with the smallest of my grandkids and then serve a Martha Stewart level post-game meal where Dave will give out the game ball.
These are the good feelings I need to hold on to over the next eight weeks – for when we lose, when we’re tired, when we’re stressed, when it’s hard. Because, truly, it’s worth it.
The kids and I are crazy about the show Tiny House Nation. We’re amazed at the way they maximize little spaces. Our house may not be tiny, but we’re continually looking for ways to manage (or get rid of) stuff to make room for people. And we’re attracted to the idea of having less stuff in exchange for more experiences. It resonates with us, because I think it’s an attitude we’ve embraced from the moment Dave and I decided I would stay home to raise our children. We gave up an income and all that can buy for time with the kids. And nothing has impacted the shape of my life more.
After Jack was born and it really sunk in that I would have no more children, I realized my perspective had changed. I didn’t feel so youthful. I’d gone from asking what will I do with my life to asking what have I done? Is this what my life is? Am I happy? Maybe that’s a mid-life crisis, I don’t know, but I felt as if a chapter ended and, for a while, I didn’t feel ready to move on. So I sat for a while, stuck and contemplating my worth. And I did not ever feel regretful about the choice to stay home with the kids.
I am grateful, every day, to live this life with them.
At the end of last summer, I picked up a little pool on clearance for $1.80 and stowed it in the back of my closet where it waited for the next day someone said, “I wish we had a pool to play in.”
Yesterday was that day.