Slower Summer

One morning last week Eddie informed me, “Today we’ll be doing a project. With ice!”

“Oh, really!” I said, “Cool!” (Haha, see what I did there? He didn’t get it.)

“Yep! We will see how long it takes ice to melt in the sun.” He accompanied this explanation with a slight nod and pursed little lips, ever the expert.

This is what I love. A curious mind full of ideas and the drive to organize an experiment. Not to mention watching ice melt is a project I can get behind. Cheap, easy, simple, and requiring little effort from me.

That afternoon we pulled out a few ice cubes, plopped them on a plate and sat down on the front porch to watch what happened.

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Here’s why it’s a sweet memory. It’s a perfect picture of a slow summer afternoon. Classic. We weren’t hurrying off to this museum or that play date or some organized activity. I wasn’t rushing about to finish my tasks for the day or stressing about how to fill the long hours of the day. We just sat in the hot sun, chatting about this and that and how the puddles around the ice cubes were growing.

Sure, we talked about states of matter a little. Xander kept picking up the ice to actually feeling it melting in his warm little fingers. But the memory is less the learning experience and more the slow moments spent together.

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I’m finding the quieter, slower moments of this season are so worth savoring. Without the activities that mark our weeks during the school year, sometimes I feel rising up in me a frantic urgency to come up with something fun to do. Something to wear out the kiddos without totally exhausting myself. There’s pressure to make summers special for our kids, magical and memorable. I’m finding when I feel that rising up and instead embrace staying home, simple play, even letting them get bored, I see the most magical, memorable, sweetest summer ever being fully embraced. Sure, it’s fun to go to the pool, the beach, vacation, outdoor movies and events. We do that too! But guarding our time so it’s not all go-go-go is so very valuable.

They run around in bare feet in the backyard. A cardboard box is transformed into an airplane. They get lost in a book, eyes glazing over as they are transported to a faraway land. Then they blink when I stop reading and beg for more. They play together, bug each other, learn from each other, and drive each other mad. We all sit on the porch watching ice melt.

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These are the days!

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