I thought last Summer was unforgettable; that nothing could compete with the simultaneous joy and sorrow we felt while celebrating my niece’s engagement in a hospital room, where we desperately hoped and prayed for my Dad’s recovery.
But, this Summer caught me by surprise.
It’s been filled with some of the best times of my life. Also, one of the worst.
And, as I reminisce over the good times and the hard things, I realize it’s been another unforgettable Summer.
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My daughter’s graduation ceremony and celebration seems like it was so long ago. But, it’s only been a few months since Hannah walked across that stage in her cap and gown and family filled up every square inch of my home to celebrate. The day was rich with food, fellowship. laughter, tears, hope, fear…the memories made at that party buoyed my spirit for days.
A Fashionable Comeback
As frivolous as it may seem, jumping on board during the second round of the GYPO Summer Style Challenge was one of the best things I’ve done for myself in a long, long time, because it was just for me.
And, only about me.
Rising to the challenge truly made me feel pretty, and using the packing list for our vacation boosted my confidence, while the launch of the Fall Style Challenge was the only thing from the outside world my shocked, sad and stunned brain could accommodate in the aftermath of Harvey.
A Last Minute Soiree
The three families of the three best friends gathered one last time the night before we left to take Hannah to California. It was absolutely one of the best times I’ve had in my life. There was music, dancing, delicious food, fellowship…
At one point, moms and daughters broke out into impromptu dancing and singing in the kitchen. It was like a scene out of a movie. But it wasn’t a movie, it was us, living life to the fullest.
Then, it was time for goodbye.
Seeing the girls gathered in a group hug, cheering each other on, and saying their I love you’s was more than my already tender heart could handle, and I broke down in tears, literally crying on my friend’s shoulder.
Getting in the car and setting the GPS to head west was no less than an out-of-body experience. And, as much as I wanted to cloak this trip in the disguise of a family vacation, the reason we were headed across the country was never far from me.
Even so, there was still a sense of adventure as we set off on unfamiliar territory, pushing Charlie, Hannah’s car, hard as he climbed mountains in extremely hot temperatures, which led to an unplanned stop somewhere far into west Texas where we met Travis the mechanic.
However, the stunning sunset more than made up for lost time and also reminded me to appreciate the journey.
Our Empty Nest
At first, my house felt, well, empty, and eerily quiet, which is what I expected. What I wasn’t expecting was how the stillness of my house gave restlessness center stage in my soul, forcing me to face some hard truths as I work to create a new normal.
I’m making all kinds of plans; house plans, me plans, life plans. And, somehow all this change, even the hard parts, feels celebratory and sweetly freeing.
That’s the word that keeps coming to mind in the wake of the massive storm that devastated the part of Texas I call home. And, between my newly empty nest and the aftermath of Harvey, I feel like I’ve been given a clean slate; a chance at restoration. So, I’ve been in the process of deciding how I want life to look going forward, and mustering up the courage to let go of some things while holding onto others.
If I had to summarize the Summer in one word, it would be empowering. It taught me to embrace, and to let go. It showed me the magic of vulnerability. It revealed the beauty of love and the potential of living life to the fullest, and it reminded me life isn’t a continuum where happy and sad take turns. Instead, joy and sorrow coexist; they are both true.
Make no mistake, all this reminiscing isn’t my farewell to Summer. I’m still summering so hard; swimming every chance I get, taking spur of the moment trips to the beach, and soaking up the sun as long as I can.
But, I’m also looking forward to what Fall will bring.
See you in class,