The End of Summer

Holy cow, is summer actually over?!

Dragons at GreenlakeIsn’t it weird how time seems to move so quickly, yet some things seem like so long ago?  Summer went by in a flash, but it seems like the kids have been out of school forever, and the sweltering hot days of July, hanging out at Greenlake ’til all hours, seem like so long ago.

This summer had a totally different vibe to it , and my job at Nordstrom is probably a big reason for that, but even so, so much seems to have changed over the summer.

My Zucchini

For starters, my kids seem so much older than the did in May or June.  It always seems like they grow up really fast over the summer – kind of like the zucchini in my garden.  I plant little tiny seeds in the spring, much too close together, unable to imagine how big they’ll get, and for so long they seem like slow growing little sprouts.  Then summer kicks in and suddenly the zucchini plants have taken over the garden, with their giant leaves and big yellow flowers, squeezing out the string beans, huge watermelon sized zucchini appearing overnight.

This summer not only did my kids grow in size, they also seemed to get more mature, independent, capable, grown up.  They can make their own meals, make their own plans, bike over to their friends’ houses, hang out at the mall, go to the movies themselves, watch Sharknado 2 multiple times on Netflix, and even help out around the house.  Nadine got an iPhone when she graduated from elementary school, and it has been so nice being able to text with her to keep in touch while I’m at work, or wherever she may be.  She has been completely responsible and mature about that phone, thank goodness.  And the other day when I totally forgot about Miles’s soccer practice, I told Miles I was sorry and he said, “It’s not your fault mom, it’s mine.  I should have remembered.”  (Aw.)

Kids at the Beach

The kids spent a lot of time away from their parents this summer, not just while we were at work, but at sleepover camp and at their grandparents; they even flew on a plane by themselves for the first time.  I think that this independence, spending loads of time with their cousins and other kids, played a big part in their rapid summer development.

Todd kicked off the summer with a herniated disc in his lower neck that incapacitated him for about six weeks.  Talk about a perspective changer!  He couldn’t do much of anything during that time, and spent a lot of time in bed, watching movies, contemplating life and his business.  He initially worried that his clients would freak out that their metalwork would take longer than expected, but eventually he let go, accepting that his health, and living without pain, really is the most important thing.

Turned out that not only were his clients understanding, supportive, and willing to wait, but Todd hired his first full-time employee, and got in some part-time help to build and install a couple of the really big jobs, paying them to do the heavy lifting, getting things done more quickly.  An approach that he will carry forward.

Todd saw every kind of doctor to get help with the pain, scheduled surgery, then canceled it at the last minute.  He decided instead to work exclusively with the physical therapist, and his progress has been amazing.  He’s not 100% just yet, but he can do a lot, including kayaking and sleeping in a tent.  Thank goodness!  We didn’t go on a big family camping trip this year because of his neck, but we’ve been able to squeeze in a couple of camping trips these past two weekends, both times bringing the kayaks and setting out crab pots. Two of Todd’s favorite most activities are kayaking and eating Dungeness crab, so it was a great way to cap off the summer.

Me Kayaking

As for me, this summer has been so validating. I love my web development job at Nordstrom, and I love making and selling pillows. For the first time ever, when asked what I do for a living, I am completely comfortable saying “I am a web developer and a pillow maker!”  Doing the web development work can really strain my brain sometimes, so it feels really good balancing that with making pillows – silk-screening, sewing, making something with my hands.

A lot of what I love about these two lines of work is the freedom and flexibility they provide me. Even though I work a lot, I get to be my own boss, make my own choices, and I don’t feel trapped doing something that doesn’t fulfill me. I don’t feel pressure to work for a certain block of time every day. I don’t feel like I’m not getting enough time with my kids. But I do love my paychecks!

I don’t know where these endeavors will take me, but for now I am embracing this hybrid approach to my work, loving the confidence and balance (and $$) they are giving me.

Sunset from Vashon Island

The end of summer is always bitter sweet.  I will miss our unstructured days, camping, swimming, staying up late, and no homework.  But I am soooo ready for school to start! We all are. The teachers’ strike has finally ended, and the kids go back to school tomorrow – eight days later than planned.  The weather has cooled down, and the sweaters are back on.  This time of year always feels like ‘back to business’ time and I am excited to have regular blocks of time to get work done.

Really, you can’t beat summer in the northwest, and I hate to see it end, but it will be back in no time at all…

Northwest Summer

 

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