It's summer in Michigan - a particularly scorching, dry summer. The lawns are crispy, yellow beds of straw. It's a good thing I didn't buy any annuals this year, because if I had, they would certainly be just leggy stems holding up tiny faded blossoms by now. Even so, I miss them. My budget didn't allow for them. I didn't even buy The Ferns, the ones that adorn the gazebo, the ones that I hang as soon as the last frost melts. They herald Summer, and I love summer. Even summers like this one, summers of simplicity and even want.
I was blessed to be able to vacation last week. We went to a resort in Virginia that we had no business visiting. As I told the saleslady giving us the timeshare pitch (hey, we got free breakfast and water park tickets!) we are so broke we can't even afford to pay attention. We only took the trip because we had paid for it almost two years ago (we "won" it in an auction for our parish.) We knew the incidentals of the trip were still more than we could justify, but we went. Aaron and I were weary; our boys needed us to be with them. So we spent a week in the mountains swimming, hiking, eating ice cream and having adventures. The highlights included episodes of me facing My Greatest Fear: heights. I navigated the zip line and conquered the chairlift with style. And sweaty palms. And more than a few tears. But I hope I taught my two youngest boys that we it's good to push the boundaries of what makes us comfortable. And I solidified that I am a super-cool mom.
Today is John's 12th birthday - the event that kicks off our family summer week of celebrations. John is such a wonderful boy. Really. Mothers say things like this about their kids all the time, but in this case it's true. He is gentle (most of the time) and quiet and polite. He says "I love you, Mom" about a dozen times a day. (And that's a lot, considering we only see each other for a few hours.) He is TALLER THAN I AM. Love that kid.
I have shared that John was our only "planned" child. That makes me smile when I think about it. Of course God plans all children, but John was the one I waited for and thought about before he began. Does that make sense? There are five years between him and his elder brother Joey. We missed him. When he arrived it was like a reunion.
We will spend the week celebrating John, then Rachel, my eldest who will be 25 on Friday. 25! Oh my goodness I must be old! Then we remember Celeste's birthday into heaven on the 23rd. It has been six years. It takes my breath away....
On the 25th my mom will be 83, and we will celebrate that was well. She is my hero lately more than ever. She cares for my 90 year old dad day in and day out. Mom is the ultimate example of patient love, of living out marriage vows. She inspires me.
And speaking of marriage vows, can it really be that it has been 25 years since we said ours? August will bring a celebration of that, too.
The summer is hot and dry and heavy with concerns sometimes. But it is full of refreshment; the blessings of family. John, and Rachel, and Celeste, and my mom, and Aaron, and all the others, my children, my sons-in-law, my precious grandbabies - they are my lemonade, my ice-cold watermelon, my luscious ferns, my ever-blooming hydrangeas...my endless Summer. Praise God.