Reconciling the End of Summer

"The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest."
-  William Blake   

The Figs that we pluck from a tree outside our door are such sweet reminders that joy comes in every season. We've enjoyed the best fig harvest ever this year, and this treat reminds me to love all the seasons, both of the year and of my life.  
A crisp air is replacing the humidity in the air on my evening runs. The laid back mornings with back porch coffee chats, swim team practices and picnic planning have been replaced by the rushed "COME ONs" or "DONT FORGET to brush you hair/teeth," "I love you"  "come give me a quick kiss" and "have a good days."   Afternoon naps and late dinners have been replaced by evening activities, homework and a mad rush to get our girls to bed by 8. (I think sleep is really important; unfortunately it cuts into quality time).  As much as I wish every day could be summer and while I'm sad summer is over, I know I only feel this way because we enjoyed such a fabulous one together. I am such a slacker mom in so many ways, but I really hope Anna Cate and Molly will remember how very hard I focused on providing all the wonderful experiences I can in the summer.  If current attitude is a predictor of future gratitude, let's just say assuaging my own guilt is going to have to be enough.

Summer was filled with pool time, a couple king's dominion trips and a beautiful beach vacation. Our final hooray for the girls and me was our annual trip to Tennessee. We road tripped it "all by ourselves:  and said goodbye to Daddy.

We spent a lovely night with my dear aunt on the way to Nana and Daddy Doug's.
 Anna Cate remembered where Aunt keeps her books and she enjoyed reading a book about King Midas. The guy whose love of gold  messes it all up by wanting everything to become gold was one of my favorites when I visited Aunt as well.

We had a lovely time in Centerville as well. I stayed for almost two weeks and the girls stayed an extra week while I came back and went to work. I was treated to an amazing dinner at Douglas & Becki's home (grilled halibut, sautéed kale, grilled pears with goat cheese, and grilled peaches with cream along with his fabulous wine selections).
I caught up with my friend Dorinda's mom at this authentic cajun restaurant where you get to bring your own wine.
I got lots of time to myself for long runs and workouts. I took the kids to the park and could ignore them while I did burpees and dumbbell exercises. This park even had a pull-up station.

It was a nice relaxing time, almost a calm before the storm that is the beginning of the school year.
The girls enjoyed tea parties and a lot of quality time with their cousin Kitty.

We visited friends and made new ones.

Anna Cate and Molly got the benefits of summer and time with Nana and Daddy Doug. . .along with Nana time.
Molly gets to wear Nana's shoes or carry around her purses to her heart's content. Here she is trying out the look of a clip on earring on her lip.  
Anna Cate's Centerville buddy Liza took her to her first concert. . . ONE DIRECTION!
My favorite part of going home is being in the beauty of Hickman County's landscape and it is so evident here at the creek.

I held this rock in my hand the last evening of my summer vacation as I looked out on my family and this beautiful landscape and said to myself I should just be grateful for what I have rather than sad for what I want more of….time in nature and with my family. 
The beginning of the school year brings new opportunities and things we don't get in the summer. . .everything can't be gold. I know there is joy in this phase of our journey as well, even though we run ourselves so ragged that I know we wouldn't enjoy the serenity of the summer without such a schedule. 
 The girls are both playing a Fall sport and Anna Cate has joined a year round swim team. 

Anna Cate and her bff Leana are on the same softball team, and I have to admit, it is so fun watching them learn and improve. I continually am amazed with gratitude for the parents who give of their time. They have great coaches. 

 Last week, when visiting Anna Cate's school, I read a writing assignment where she described her summer and it warmed my heart to know she made such good memories. I did, too, but I know that the busyness of Fall, which adds stress for me, creates memories and opportunities as well.  With all that we do, I don't have time to get to a gym so I improvise by keeping weights, a quilt, and headphones in the back of the van for work outs in parking lots. I've discovered roads that are beautiful I didn't know existed. I run while Anna Cate swims.

Or I find a corner of a parking lot to do yoga.

 I will run up and down the street waiting on the bus in the afternoons.  

I do crossfit in parking lots.

Ironically, as much as I miss the time to get to a gym or a crossfit "box," I find so much strength in the notion that I'm figuring out a way to make what is important to me happen. I would never dig deep without the pressures and stresses of working. So while I wish I could be a "stay-at-home" mom and have the freedom of summer throughout the year, I know I can seize the opportunities to appreciate life in a different way.  
When I do get the chance to slip off by myself on  a country road, I know that I wouldn't appreciate the scenery if not for the quickie workouts I have to do in parking lots.  Much like my appreciation for summer --  family summers are only made sweeter because of  the business of our school year life. Below I tried to capture the picture of the sun rays and the rain on a recent weekend run in a Civil War battlefield I adore. Running provides such rich metaphors for life. Just as King Midas learned not everything should be gold, there can be beautiful rays of sun shining as rain falls. 

"I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final goodbye."
-  I Wish You Enough, Unity Church