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I have grown to love July 5 through Labor Day weekend.
There is nothing special about those days, nothing flashy, nothing that takes our breath away.
As much as I love holidays and making those days special for my family, there is something about those two months in the summer that has become precious to me.
For me, these are the slow days.
The days when we don’t have to leave the house… or we can if we choose to.
These are the days when trips to the beach with a picnic lunch are for more than a tan. They are refreshing to the soul.
These are the days that bring us peace before the storm of back-to-school, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.
These are the days that Pinterest has not affected… yet. There are no articles on how to make these days spectacular, to decorate your home for them, or to throw elaborate parties for them.
These are the days of solitude. The days when we stay close to our immediate family before schedules pick up and send us flying in different directions. Days when we stay home without the worry of letting others down.
These are the days when our children can play to their hearts’ content without the pressure of being rushed here and there.
But it was not always this way for me. As Jerusalem Jackson Greer says in her book, A Homemade Year, “Embracing the ordinary is something I had to learn.”
I had fallen into the pattern of thinking that I wasn’t giving my children everything they deserve. I felt that keeping them busy, always with something to do, somewhere to go, or someone to see, was going to give them the best childhood experience I could offer.
Then one day, my four year old asked what we were doing that day. I listed what I had planned, so proud of myself that I was giving him so many experiences. He looked at me and said, “But I want to stay home.”
It never occurred to me that my children didn’t need or want all of these experiences.
We began to cut back our activities significantly. “Less is more,” as my husband always says. No more trips to the summer movies. No more library classes. No summer art classes at a local craft store.
Instead, we filled our time seeing family, going to the beach, and swimming at my sister’s community pool.
We watched Netflix.
Happy messes were made and left for a day or two (anyone who knows me knows this was a huge step for me).
We colored… I colored, too.
The ordinary, the mundane became beautiful.
And I saw why God instituted the day of rest (Genesis 2:2-3).
Life is busy. There are schedules to keep, appointments to be made, work deadlines, school events, and it doesn’t ever seem to end. Unless we make a point of taking a time to rest, to refresh ourselves, to bring quiet to our souls, and give ourselves space to hear from God.
As it turns out, our summer was not boring, and when special days came up (like an unexpected trip to Legoland for one of the kids), they were extraordinary!
As the school year picks up, my heart feels a tinge of sadness. I know that schedules will resume, activities will find their way onto the calendar, and life will start chugging along at a rapid pace again.
But I have learned over this summer, that I can limit the appointments, the activities, the busyness, and we can continue to enjoy ordinary days throughout the year.