June melts into blissful firefly nights. July is sticky freedom.
August? August is reflection and anticipation: Did we do enough? Have the kids been appropriately bored? Were they given enough freedom to make terrible yet harmless choices? Did we use our time well, including not using it at all? Did we chase the ice cream truck enough? Are they happy?
What makes my kids happy and what makes me happy often swerve and loop towards and away from one another, although my kids’ happiness overall contributes to mine and vice versa. We’re a family after all and love makes happiness contagious. Also, there’s the chestnut that you’re only as happy as your unhappiest kid at any given moment, so there’s that.
Overall, 2019 provided us enough adventure, learning, and laziness to satisfy everyone’s pallet, although definitely not enough ice cream truck chasing.
The goal, as I told the kids before school started up again, is to keep the summer sense of adventure and play throughout the year. To be sure, this is markedly more challenging without large chunks of empty space in our daily calendar, which makes it all the more necessary.
This summer, I read two books about immortality – Circe and Eternal Life. Then I read Almost Everything, which deals with mortality. All three good reads in very different ways. The common bond among the three books is the message that mortality is good. Deep stuff for summer.
Olio Live, performed selections from the Pulitzer-Prize winning Olio, is a brilliant, challenging, and thoroughly satisfying listen. I hope to get my hands on the book and experience the complete works in print form.
Also got to read along with my youngest as she tackled Harry Potter. She needed some guidance with the Britishisms and keeping track of minor characters. We sat side by side and read to ourselves, with her asking questions as they arose. The introduction into the magic of that world is truly one of the things I love most about parenting. I had the same experience with one of my twins several years ago. The other twin never took to Harry Potter, although he appreciates it. This is the same way I feel about Shakespeare, which is near heresy for an English major and former English teacher.
We watched a few of the Mission Impossible movies again, starting with the most recent (not great) and working backward (better). We’ll probably watch the remainder of them in coming weeks. Watching backwards is not really prohibitive, and prevents viewer disappointment. Plus Tom Cruise’s face grows more normal.
My writing clicked along. I learned I might have aphantasia which means I don’t see images in my mind, and certainly don’t create mental movies when I write. It makes things harder, especially writing description. I’ve always skipped over long descriptions in books because, well, they seemed kind of pointless. Just say they’re in a dungeon. I get the general concept. Move on. I don’t need to read about every nook, bat, and drip of water. That means nothing to me. Writing a novel forces me to approach description with care. I think my lack of a traditional mind’s eye can actually be an asset, a pipeline to keeping description adequate while moving the story along.
Here are some highlights of what I liked on the internet this month:
- This 89-year-old woman is my hero.
- The tyranny of self-care
- To my point about August
- Self-care is not enough
- Not to mention the loss of fun…
- And another on youth sports…
Some changes to the website in design and content coming in the next few months…looking forward to it all!