When Summer Isn't What You Expect

Six years ago this month we moved into our house.  Although over a mile away, our front porch provides a clear view of our town's fireworks display.  Our family gathers with us for the Fourth of July, and all of the day's preparations -- cutting the grass, preparing the picnic meal, stocking up on sparklers and snap-its -- are done with anticipation for when the sun sets and the low rumble of fireworks begins.

My middle daughter watched less than half of the fireworks.  She was busy fiddling with her glow stick necklace, chasing fireflies, and running barefoot with her cousin in the front yard.  Explosions of light were filling the sky, and she was captivated by other things.

This morning over cereal, she reported that she had an amazing night.

I used to build up special events in my mind, finding myself surprised if they didn't meet my expectations.  The more I watch my children, I'm aware of their impressive capacity to live in the moment.  To be captured by something that fascinates them.  To delight in the smallest things.

In reality, summer vacation isn't always all that it's cracked up to be.  There are scraped knees, cranky kids, and sand from the outdoor sand box mysteriously trampled onto the kitchen floor on a daily basis.  There are days that are too hot, too sticky, too repetitive.  It's ordinary life -- just a humid version of it so my hair is perpetually frizzy.

And it's entirely okay.  We don't need our days to be perfect for them to be good.  Let go of expectations and live.

Last night I set a few extra boxes of sparklers aside.  When July starts to linger long and August is hot on its heels, I'll pull them out.  We'll add a little flair at night into an otherwise ordinary day.

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  1. smoothstonesJuly 05, 2012

    Both the 1yo and the 3yo are in a phase of hating loud noises. My husband bought fireworks and aimed for colorful, not loud. It didn't work. I mean, the colorful part works, but not the quiet part. The girls and I ended up watching the back-yard display from inside the house.

  2. Ah yes, it's hard to come by fireworks that are silent, is it not? Glad that you could retreat indoors to watch your private display, though!

  3. SavvyLittleWomen - KateJuly 05, 2012

    This is so great and so true. I think we always have higher expectations than the kids - they are so easily pleased :).

  4. So true! I love their simplicity!

  5. thediaperdiariesJuly 21, 2012

    I think parents think they have to give their kids Disney Land when they are perfectly happy with a bounce house in a parking lot. Great post!!


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