Summer went by like a mirage. It’s over. I know this because I baked scones tonight. In 2005 David and I spent almost two months in Ireland. Now, whenever summer turns into fall, my subconscious insists I bake scones and top them with butter, strawberry jam, and real whipped cream. Beyond fabulous and foolproof knowledge of fall’s arrival.
Summer feels like only a blur of lying on the sofa exhausted and nauseous and / or driving hours and hours for doctor’s visits; but tonight as I scrolled through the pictures of Summer 2013 I realized there were moments of real summer interspersed between the sofa attachment hours and van seat attachment hours.
There was that idyllic beginning of summer as we watched the landscape morph from brown and barren to lush and green, made even more so this year by the phenomenal amounts of rain.
The fun surprise of dozens and dozens of daffodils in the otherwise mostly bare landscaping beds.
And the not so easy job of transplanting them all in the field on a night when the gnat population exceeded the population of Maryland in our field alone. Here’s hoping they survive. The daffodils, not the gnats.
The fun of yard games like croquet and a very rare sunny afternoon at the Middle Ford. The beginning of this summer we were either on the road or it was raining. Well, pretty much.
An introduction to glasses for Adam. He’s needed them for almost a year, but he kept desperately trying to compensate and insisted his eyes were fine because he was afraid of how he would look when he wore them. Now that they’re here, he can’t wait until he looks “more normal with glasses than without.”
A rare quiet evening at home … just us … no activity to rush off to …
Adam’s developing art skills ….
… as well as piano. He played two songs at a local church in April. In some ways, he is so much like me he makes me laugh. Then there are other times when I know he pulled genes from some place that skipped me entirely. Like his ability to draw … and to pick up piano so quickly … and the fact that he hates cheese.
There were tiny baby chicks ….
and slow, lazy mornings
Happy hours of play time …
and a local fishing derby. The man who works ahead and then goes out of town to a second job working long days before coming home – coincidentally just in time for the first day of catch and keep trout fishing — and who takes his boys to the local, over-rated fishing derby to catch three inch fish for prizes …… that man is a hero in my book.
There was the two day canoe trip as a reward to Adam for saying his two, enormous previous school years Bible Memory portions that also turned out to be my introduction to camping in the r o u g h. I *thought* I’d camped roughing style when I was a teenager because we slept out under the stars in a field and cooked all our food over a fire we built ourselves. I didn’t realize that really rough meant you couldn’t run home for trashbags you forgot or pick up donuts at Donuts Delite the next morning.
Rough means you have no idea where you will camp that night and after asking for permission at several places and being declined, you pick a deserted spot with knee high grass and start weed whacking with an oar. It means you cut firewood on the spot instead of bringing it along.
The river was gorgeous … and scary. Supposedly a placid river, it was feet higher than normal. We’d barely been in the canoe before rounding a curve in the river and hitting a class three rapid on steroids. Enormous rocks jutted out of white water on every side and all I could do was yell right and left to David, paddle as hard as I could, and pray for guardian angels with every fiber in my being. We were loaded to the gills and this was NOT what we’d envisioned for canoeing with two boys. If we capsized, someone was liable to have a brain concussion from hitting a rock and getting help wasn’t going to be easy. We survived, thanks to angels I’m convinced. Before long we hit another rapid just like it. Three foot waves are too much for a canoe and we’d bounce down over one only to have water from the next come flying into the canoe. Still, we didn’t dump. After that, we hit a number of rapids but none of them so intense. By the fourth or fifth rapid, I decided to give up my preconceived ideas of floating along enjoying the sun and embrace the adrenalin rush. We yelled every time the waves splashed in and hit us and before long the boys were yelling and laughing with delight, too. Thankfully, day two was much more placid although the current was still so swift our canoe raced along to fast to fish. Adam was sorely disappointed.
All hands on deck to set up campsite. Liam dug the privy. Adam started cutting kindling for firewood and David started setting up the tarp as quickly as possible since rain was threatening.
Mornings are even more beautiful when you’re outside to watch them surface. Unless, of course, you’re six weeks pregnant and too sick to think of anything as beautiful.
We loved seeing a bald eagle fly ahead of us as though he wanted to escort us down the river. Later, a blue heron did the honors.
There was the day Mom came to visit after we brainstormed about making a canopy for the boys bed. Instead, I was on the recliner all day with nausea, cramping, and spotting while she and the boys cleaned our kitchen like it hadn’t been cleaned since I’d gotten pregnant.
And then summer changed drastically because of Adam’s broken arm.
There were still a few trips to the Middle Ford, but they seemed to include as much chip eating as water play.
There were fun packages in the mail and sometimes in person with delightful gifts that helped slay the I-can’t-do-anything-dragon.
There were the aforementioned gaZILlion trips to the doctor that involved hours and hours on the road and took up whole days at a time.
Some days, David headed three hours one direction on work-related business and I headed three hours the other direction for a doctor visit. Sometimes I wonder if we’re singlehandedly keeping the fuel economy stoked. Mostly, I feel incredibly grateful for safety and that we actually get reunited at home after twelve hours. It was a happy morning the day we left for cast removal.
The process was so much more painful than I’d anticipated. Adam’s skin was badly broken down, probably from sweat, and they had to carefully peel / tear his cast off his skin. A large section of skin tore off on the inner part of his elbow and his entire arm was covered with a small skin tears and a large, red, rash. The instant he scratched, he tore more skin open. When they finally got it all off, we walked down the hall toward radiology and he became extremely light headed and the next thing I knew he was about to throw up. The receptionist there told me that kids sometimes react to cast removal. They took great care of us and thankfully sitting with his head down and a drink of cold water took care of most of it. They custom-fitted him with a removable brace and I naively thought this would be a walk in the park from here on out. I was wrong. He had much more pain with his cast off, especially in his wrist. They double-checked the xray to see if they’d missed anything, but hadn’t. By the next morning, his hand had had 3+ edema and his lower forearm was much more swollen. I switched to an ACE bandage inside the brace and we kept his arm elevated as much as possible. Life went back to the slow lane for a few days until his arm got strong enough to support itself in the brace. We used coconut oil, evening primrose oil, and Vitamin E oil on his skin. It took two weeks for the rash to dissipate and about that long for the swelling to disappear. When the swelling subsided, we had a new difficulty. The rod sticks out, giving him the look of a second elbow when he bends his arm. Let’s just put it this way, even brushing lightly against something hurts!
But there were happy surprises, too. Adam can write numbers quite well with his left hand and words are legible if produced slowly.
Summer was a good thing, even if it didn’t go the way summers normally do.
There were tons and tons of rainy days, but there was also an incredibly lush garden that superseded my wildest imaginations.
There was pain and inconvenience and way too much road time, but there is a healing arm and a growing baby to celebrate.
There is the mental overload that is homeschooling, but there are smiles of delight and the easiness of teaching kindergarden.
School is easier the second year than the first … even with adding a kindergarden student, morning sickness, and a broken arm.
There is remodel dirt (Didn’t we decide to build our house in a way that meant we wouldn’t have to put our family through this schedule again??? Some days I feel like the Johnny Appleseed of houses.) and days when it feels as though David works for camp six long days a week instead of five normal days, but there is expansion happening in the basement in the form of raw basement being converted to living space.
And like always, there were flowers, and cherry tomatoes to mix with basil and fresh mozarella sprinkled with red wine vinegar and sea salt. I feel like a millionaire when I walk out the kitchen door to snip fresh basil.
Yep, it’s been a rich summer.
And to the scones, I forgive you for convincing me to say goodbye to summer.