For me, summer inevitably is a simple time. It has been too hot to move fast; to muggy to undertake anything complex. Clothing is considered optional most times (for those under the age of 4, at least) and food choices even tend towards simple grilled meals, fresh straightforward veggies, and cool fruit with no need for accompaniments.
We are staying at my mom’s for a few days, watching her dog while she is away. This was a last minute trip, and yesterday I was in a minor panic as I was trying to anticipate our family’s needs for the next few days, packing clothes, food, and favored loved ones. I don’t know why, but this sent me in a bit of a tailspin. The kids mostly do well over at my mom’s, but the Eldest has some sensitivity about where he sleeps, and how he sleeps. A few days away from his very own room in his very own bed, and I’ve already made a catastrophe in my head about our sleepless state a few days from now. Also, we have some plans for the next few days, and I was stuck inside my head, trying to make sure that these plans still meshed with this recent relocation. You should know this: my mom lives not twenty minutes from us, and is actually a much more convenient location for many things, including my husband’s commute to work. If I forgot something, it is not difficult to run home. There is not much that can’t be improvised from here. But it was in the shortness of my breath on Sunday afternoon, while staring at piles of clothes, and a stack of bills that needed to come with me, that I couldn’t see the simplicity of these moments, of this season.
Monday morning began early, as they often do, and I wasn’t sure how we were going to fill our time. Not being in our own space, I couldn’t rely on our normal household tasks and reliable games to keep us busy. But in the simplicity of childhood, the simplicity of summer I’ve been amazed to watch our morning unfold. It has beautiful, and simple. We’ve been awake for four hours, and both little ones are still in pajamas. I’ve had my two cups of coffee, and perused some morning news and blogs. I’ve listened to screams of laughter and joy, and of course, had to intervene about every third minute or so, but have not so much had to entertain. We discovered a big cardboard box, covered it with an old blanket, and with these simple things have created endless play. I remember now why we are not busy.
I still have some errands to do; I still need to firm up our dinner plans. But I know we won’t go hungry. At some point I’ll have to help the kids into some real clothes. I know that the kids can’t play like this forever, and that we’ll need to figure out a few more details of our week. Maybe we’ll play in the creek this afternoon, maybe I’ll dig into my mom’s super eclectic craft cabinet. But it is not as complicated as my head thought it to be. It’s so much simpler than that.
My cousin recently wrote about her experiences with meditation, and what it’s teaching her. Her teacher shared these words of wisdom: “take the bees nest out of your head and bring it down into your heart. your head can’t solve your problems because your head created them. but go into your heart. your heart knows the way.” I know how to do this: be a mother, be a friend, be myself — it’s simple. It’s with the rhythm of the seasons, the pulse of my breath that I can stay in this moment, and enjoy the empty day with little responsibility.