School is about to start again, and I’m trying my best to wring some “summer” out of these last August days before we step onto the treadmill of school routines, evening sports and nonstop activity.  But the last week or so has been very un-summery. It’s cloudy and gray, cool for this time of year, and my teenagers just aren’t that interested in a day at the pool with mom.  I can’t even stock the freezer with popsicles and treats anymore – they are more interested in meeting friends at Sonic of Starbucks.

It’s really our last “free” summer with the older two – next year they’ll have full time summer jobs and be moving even closer to independence and leaving us for college.  It’s made me extra thankful for the summer memories we’ve created through the years in our most favorite place, northern Michigan.  We try to spend as much time there as we can, and it’s one of those vacations where time slows down –  phones and schedules and busy-ness get put away, and it’s all about the woods and the water and the beach and ice cream.  It’s cousins and s’mores and beach fires; it’s old boats and kayaks and the most beautiful sunsets you’ve ever seen.  The teens still eat s’mores, and now they help the younger ones spear the marshmallows and melt the chocolate.  It’s the best.

I can still get them out into the woods with me, even though now they walk ahead and it’s more about the pictures they want for their Instagram and Visco accounts.

But I’m still soaking up all the time they’ll give me.  It’s good that they’re getting independent (that means we’re doing our jobs, parents!) but it still stings a little that the time I have them right here in the house and right in my hands is getting shorter.  My youngest will start high school in a few days, and I’m sure her high school years will start flying by just like they have for the older ones.

Do you have a “place” where your family relaxes and has fun together?  I think most of us have somewhere – grandparents’ house for a Sunday meal, a lake or river or creek where we take a day and splash around together – for me it’s by the water, in the house my grandparents built 60 years ago, with lazy mornings and beautiful sunsets and where every dinner ends with a trip to the ice cream store.

 

As I watch the kiddos drive away to school this week (yes, they are driving themselves, it’s the first “first day” for that too) I’ll cherish the down time we had.  And when work and school and volunteer projects overwhelm my time and energy, I’ll picture myself in my favorite beach chair, channeling the relaxing water view!

Where’s your best family place? A family farm?  Your grandmother’s house?  A local lake or creek?  Hope you’ve gotten some time there this summer – and lots of pictures, too.

 

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