it's still nice here

IMG_4516 Oh God, am I ever digging June this year.  The hydrangeas are finally coming in, but I think I need to add some vinegar to the soil.  I like them blue more than lavender.  My maternal grandmother would shake her head at me.

IMG_4532 We're slowly settling into a summer rhythm here.  Getting our bearings.  We had to have a family meeting last night about it.  Callum leaves at nine and has trouble checking in until all his friends go home for dinner.  Part of me couldn't be more thrilled about the kind of summer he's having.  Twilight games of manhunt, ping pong tournaments, running running all day long.  I'll catch glimpses of packs of boys roaming from yard to yard, yesterday it was eight!  But he's not as untethered as he thinks.  He still needs to put his clothes in the hamper, and his laundry away, and make his bed before he leaves the house.  And he can't eat lunch at his friend's house everyday.  His little-big-man-ness has never been more apparent. 

Like his mother, Callum's a fragile sleeper.  He still, at almost ten, wakes at least once a night. 
    "What if I wake up at five?"  He asks.
    "Go downstairs and make a bowl of cereal."
    "Can I play the Wii?"
    "As long as you're quiet."
    "What if it's four?"
    By now I'm ready for this conversation to be done.  "As long as you're quiet."

Last night Neel heard some noise deep in the dark, and he looked out into our unusually well-lit back yard to see Lucy-the-Beagle running the perimiter of the fence line.  He knew right away that something was up.  (Bear in mind that fragile sleeper that I am, I didn't hear a thing.) He came downstairs to find Callum on the sofa, a bowl of cereal in front of him, a can of seltzer in one hand and the Wii remote in the other.  Violet and Thea were blissfully snuggled up with him.  It was 4:10 a.m.  Callum's first question was, "Was I quiet?"

He's still sleeping now.  We were both really proud of him, Neel and I.  He let the dogs out on his own and tended to everything quite responsibly.  We tucked him in with us and chatted and snuggled for awhile. And this is why summer is so wonderful.  He can sleep in, and we can figure it out, how to help him sleep better.  I work mostly from home in the summer and everyone is blissed out and happy about this, right down to the dogs. 

IMG_4509 This is how Lucy and Neel greet each other every evening.

IMG_4518 The evenings are the best.  I love my work, but it's so nice to not
rush in the door and immediately start thinking about dinner.  We take
time and settle in.  Dinner simmers instead of boils.  As if by one, many of the grillers on the block switched to charcoal.  Isn't it funny how things like that work out?  It slows things down, that's true, but you know, I don't mind.

IMG_4523 We grilled teriyaki-and-ginger chicken sausage and pineapple, and I sauteed some squash and zucchini from the farmer's market for some pasta.  See that drip of cream on my bowl?  Don't you just want to swipe that up with your finger?  It was gone as soon as I put the camera down!

IMG_4513 After dinner we crossed the street to check on Callum who was right back at it in a neighbor's back yard.  We ended the evening sharing a bottle of wine and some amazing dark chocolate (bunnies!) and some good conversation with these neighbors and friends.  David said it, that the impromptu gatherings were the best, and he's right.  We sat around their kitchen island as the big boys played lacrosse in the backyard and little-big William (he's three) brought us lightening bugs, one-by-one to see.  Lightening bugs?  Fireflys?  Di and I like firefly, and Will opted for "firebug," and as the three of us walked home, I thought, "It's Tuesday."  Plain old Tuesday.

Somewhere, on some blog I read recently (I'll have to dig around and find it.) the author asked if there was a place that was special to you that you vacationed as a kid with your family that you take your kids to now.  A place that's special for you to bring your kids to.   I don't have places like that.  There weren't regular vacation places in my family.  No mountain cabin or lake or beach house.  But last night, as I was walking back home, I thought that place is summertime.