Last night was our official last night of summer vacation: today is just a weekend and Monday Lar and I will start back to work while the kids do a week of "day camp."
This summer was jam-packed with stuff to do, places to go, and really enjoyable days at home. We originally planned to have Joseph spend approximately half his time in day care, but he only went one full week (the same week Abigail did sports camp) because, for the first summer since joining our family, he was delightful to have at home! So, our little family of 4 got to have lots of fun quality time together all summer long.
We did some amazing things and went to some wonderful places, but the biggest growth in both kids this summer was in the area of swimming. We put the kids in 8 once-per-week swimming classes in the spring. Joseph never progressed past the lesson in which he had to pour a small cup of water on his own arms and head. Abigail was floating for 10 seconds and doing 20 "bobs" off of the bottom of the pool. By the time we went to the lake house at the end of June, Abigail was a strong doggie-paddler and Joseph was independent in the water using his life jacket. Abigail spent the week at the lake jumping off the dock and swimming with her life jacket.
When we got home from the lake, Abigail wanted to try to swim without her jacket. She began swimming under water first, but within days was doing a rough freestyle. Now, she swims as gracefully as a mermaid and is darn good at freestyle and breaststroke. She can also do a bit of backstroke, has dabbled with butterfly, and can do flips under water.
Joseph witnessed his sister shedding her life jacket and the elated responses from us and he naturally wanted to ditch the life jacket too. This was first accomplished by him being sneaky. He asked if he could swim without his jacket and I told him no. (He was sitting on the steps of our pool.) So, he swung himself onto the side of the pool, held on for a second, took a deep breath and let go. He sunk and I grabbed him up out of the water where he sputtered and wiped the water off his face and proudly declared "See! I don't sink. I float!" That made me laugh pretty hard at his interpretation of what had just happened. But his can-do attitude was enough motivation for Lar and me to start to teach him how to swim. He can now swim underwater well enough to retrieve dive sticks and dive rings on the bottom of the pool. He can swim on top of the water if we are there to help him when he needs to get his breath in a sloppy freestyle and he can go about 10 or 11 feet on one breath.
We are SO proud of the kids and their swimming this summer!
My ineffable thoughts have been churning away in my head, coming together over a few weeks into something more solid. Something more expressible. Something more. And throughout this process I contemplated if I would blog this and decided that there was a very good reason to do so. At the end of every calendar year, I take all of the entries for the past year and have them published in a book. A real, tangible, on-the-shelf book as a future gift to my children. They will have stories of their childhood, documentation of things we have done together, proof that I was trying my hardest because who knows what will become of these intangible bits and bytes on the web. And, with entries like this, they may have something to draw on if/when they are parents themselves. The hard thing, the really damn difficult thing, is the loss of grownups in my world. I have been a parent for five and a half years and at first there was a slight drop off in the number and types of activities to which I was invited. Then, after bringing Joseph home, a precipitous drop happened. At first, I thought that people were just giving us space, but the invites to attend adult functions, both casual and formal, dried up. We are more than willing to hire baby-sitters and get some adult time with others, but the invites aren't there. When we try to initiate, we end up disappointed. We know a few wonderful families with kids and sometimes have the pleasure of hanging out together, adults and kids and chaos, and that does provide a modicum of adult time and some fun for us and the kids. But this doesn't happen often. And I still really miss the people I used to hang out with: the ones who don't have kids/ don't want kids/ whose kids have grown and I feel so isolated from. Some very important relationships to me have atrophied in the presence of my kids. I have put in efforts to revive them, but they are not met with what used to be. It seems that People With Kids and People Without Kids are two non-overlapping circles of a Venn diagram.
I found this on the Web. It seems mostly true for me. I don't want them to remember me tired, but if they do, and this is why, then that will be okay.