It is 7:53 pm. I just walked outside into 103 degrees. But more than that, it is deafening out there. You, over there, with your sea breezes and lapping waves–and all you can hear is that lulling. And you, there by the creek, the sound of light rain on all those leafy trees. You outside looking up at the evening sky and hearing…not much. Well, you should come here to experience this Phoenix-in-July thing–Phoenix when everyone leaves but the cicadas.
There is a never-doneness to my work. That is why I am so happy to take the summer off and be with my family. I mean, of course, I will still work. I will reply to emails and I’m excited to paint. But, the unendingness of it all–the constant feeling that I am behind–that the virtual stack of papers is growing instead of shrinking–that is already behind me.
Happy summer! Maybe because I was an August baby, I just love, love, love summertime. I love swimming and playing and the way time slows to a crawl in the summer–slow, nectar–dripping time.
Summer usually means I get the sheer privilege of fewer deadlines and emails so I can just surrender to my children and family–to just BE with them. Just be. To feel the exotic bliss of boredom…for my kids and me. Real-live, honest-to-goodness boredom. To just make dinner and organize the house and live really simply–eating watermelon, doing puzzles and seeing movies. After reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up this winter, I plan to get very Marie Kondo with my house and my life this summer. (And I’m already very Marie Kondo.)
The kids start school tomorrow–so summer officially ends. I just now cried and hugged them on the floor. My daughter starts kindergarten (which is making me cry as I type) and she suggested that I go into her room tomorrow and find some stuffed animals to cuddle while they are in school. But then again, she also said, “Oh, it’s OK because you have so many emails to do and you need to be alone.” She’s actually right. My email inbox is jammed full…I have so many projects to finish and deadlines waiting, but I surrendered it all to summer for the last few weeks and it was good.
I almost read a whole book.
I had my first mammogram.
I tried to do a handstand on the beach. It is harder than it looks.
I fell down into a hole for a few weeks in June.
I stopped eating sugar, drinking coffee and eating chocolate to help myself climb out of that hole I fell into. Also, I took B Vitamins.
I turned 42.
I designed my next fabric line in my mind. I can’t wait to create it.
It rained once.
My first DVD came out. I watched it like 6 times.
I travelled home to the South with my family.
Kids do well when travelling.
Family love is big and beautiful.
There is nothing like cousins.
We led prayer flag workshops in Arizona and Alabama for our Happy Flag project in honor of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. We got good press here.
My dad lives way too far away. It is precious time when I am with him.
My kids do not do well with boundless hours of summer stretching out before them.
My baby girl can swim…for real…like a dolphin-mermaid.
My son will undoubtedly grow up to design and engineer cool things.
He bought Fart Bombs this summer and enjoyed them very much.
My husband sleeps in our bed again after a year. (No, we weren’t fighting for a year…but he couldn’t sleep with the kids in there.)
It is really nice to sleep with my husband again.
We fought about money.
We bonded as our children’s behavior grew so bad deep in the summer that we holed up against their attacks by just laughing about it behind our closed door. We hid from them. We giggled.
He started planning our fall garden.
I did my once yearly deep cleaning of the whole house and it was good.
I surrendered all work and obligations to the rhythms of my children and our house:
laundry, Legos, homework, dolls, cleaning and cooking.
Wars erupted all over the planet.
Also, I read Harry Potter to my kids.
And my children’s feet grew–that part near the heel and below the ankle–
on each of them–it is so big–almost as big as mine.
We watched Master Chef and lots of other TV and movies together…a lot.
I ate my children. I breathed them in. I enjoyed them. They pissed me off.
They hurt my feelings. They loved me so much. ALL of the craziness happened.
And it was good.
They acted wild. They acted lovely.
They are beautiful.
So is my husband.
So was my summer.
My book about creativity, The Little Spark, comes out this fall and I couldn’t be more excited.
I made a lot of green smoothies with raw cacao.
Dates are a very good natural sweetener for cacao-avocado smoothies.
(I want a Ninja blender.)
My kids start school next week.
And as ever, my heart will break as they step into their classrooms and our cocoon is shattered again until winter break.
You’d think I wouldn’t miss them at all based on the way they acted this summer…
but a mother’s memory is short and faulty.
All we can see is the love underneath the boundary-testing and misbehavior.
All we see is beauty.
And it was a beautiful summer.
We all spent a lot of time together in the studio making things.
And then Robin Williams…
I am gonna go #UNPLUG now. No social media for a few weeks. No Instagram. No Facebook. No Pinterest. No blogging. No compulsive checking. No dopamine uptake in my brain for a thumb or a like. No public sharing of private moments. No voyeuristic peering into the private moments of everyone else’s not-so-private lives. I’m just going to go be in my life like it was 1999… for at least three weeks. 🙂 Then I’ll be back, because I like social media.
Kids are so cool. They just know how to make their own fun. Lately, several of my mama friends have been emailing me pictures of creations made by their cooped-up Arizona summertime kids. I was surprised to hear what they used as inspiration—my Giggle & Squeak quilt pattern templates! I am totally inspired to make a coloring/art book when I see these kids using my templates in such creative ways. I particularly like the framed creations by Lily. Kids don’t need any help from me to celebrate their inner artists. Rather, I need help from them to remember to think creatively and find inspiration from the things that are right in front of me. Give your sewing templates to your kids and see what summer fun you can make!
It all changed. Two weeks ago. All at once. I felt it. Now I can see it too—the light is different. It is a slow awakening each year. And then, rather suddenly, everything shifts. The light turns almost pink. My pupils can’t do their work of filtering out the sun anymore and sunglasses, which in the winter are just an option, now become a necessity.