So I just dropped my girls off at school. Both girls. Same school. For at least two hours every morning my girls will be in the same place and I’ll be on my own. A few hours to work out, to read a book, to go grocery shopping, to write, to blog. Considering these two have been my near constant companions for the past two and a half months, you would think I’d be rejoicing on this first-day-of-school morning. I feel like I should be rejoicing.
And I am.
But not completely. And not for the reasons you may expect.
Summer; I’m not quite ready to let you go yet. You have been magical and full of adventure and fun and togetherness. You changed the dreariness and exhaustion of the day-to-day, hour-by-hour parenting of young children, into the wonder that is watching kids learn and play and explore by themselves. Together. With friends. Without me.
This summer was full. We attended two VBS programs, four weeks of swim lessons, Daisy went to camp Indianola, both girls went to Gran Camp. We made new friends and reconnected with friends we haven’t spent time with in years. We played at the park and on the beach and visited museums. We chased a dog. We entered projects into the county fair. We collected bags of candy at the 4th of July parade. We had friends visit for a wonderful weekend. We celebrated with friends at a wedding. We admired sand sculptures and gobbled delicious salmon while listening to local music.
We took advantage of all the fun at camp: eating in the dining hall, giant slip and slides, campfires and silly skits, craft cabin, kayaking and beach play. Josh scooped up boatfulls of crab and in addition to sharing with many of our camp volunteers, one night we had 12 people around our kitchen island one night cracking and dipping and gorging. We even hosted Dani’s 5th birthday Luau on the lawn by the beach. Aunt Mandi and the camp cousins (Maezie and Eli) became our partners-in-fun and it was the rare day when we had trouble getting along.
Gram and Grampa were in Washington for the summer and we loved having them nearby. Cousin Jacob graduated high school and we all celebrated. They joined us on Daisy’s birthday adventure at the zoo, and then a few weeks later took us to see another batch of animals at the Olympic Game Farm. They took the girls overnight to Port Townsend so Darin and I could celebrate 11 years of marriage. We crashed with them one night in Black Diamond and camped together with my side of the family in Leavenworth for a whole week.
Yes, we camped in “elevenworth” (as Dani calls it) for seven nights in a tent. It wasn’t too hard and the memories we made with family surrounding us was priceless. To see my girls play with their big cousins, to watch them cuddle with grandparents or Aunts or Uncle. To see Daisy get up each morning, put on her bike helmet before she was even dressed, and head out for adventure. To hike and swim and bike and laugh. To play games late at night after the children were in bed. To tell stories. And even with our new adventure at Camp Indianola keeping Darin working hard over many hours this summer, he was still able to come camping for the whole entire week. In August. What a blessing.
The first morning home from our trip, as Darin and I were lingering in our very own soft bed, the girls were up and ready to play. Apparently they had brought some of the camping spirit home with them, as the indoors no longer would suffice. They were ready to play outside. So outside they went.
And for the final four days of summer those girls have not stopped playing. They played in their playhouse, they created a store and longed for customers, they made a daycare for their dolls and created a dance show. They dressed up and built a shelter on the beach.
And I did some chores, and edited some pictures, and caught up on emails, and cooked some food. And I checked in with them from time to time, broke up a disagreement from time to time, but mostly let them be.
And me? I simply sat in the wonder of two little girls at play. I gave into the ache for a bit. And I prayed with a heart full of gratitude for this friendship to maintain. That as the years pass and their interests change and grow and as friendships and boyfriends enter the mix, that these two will recognize the gift they have been given in a sister. That at the end of the day, they will return to one another with stories and tales. That they will always encourage with hugs and prayers and words of wisdom.
That they will always, always have each other.
That has been the magic of this summer. And now I think you know why I’m not ready for it to go.