Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I'm Happy, Feeling Glad

This has been the summer of Summer. I don't mean that everything is going my way...not at all. Ebay sales are taking a long, extended vacation for instance.

And my 13-year old is in an awful "criticize and question everything my mom does" phase. And also a "find everything she does irritating" phase. I am unpopular, and there's no sign of a comeback on the horizon.

Yet Dad is still, confoundingly, the awesomest human being alive. Dads get all the brakes I think.

And nothing in my life is or ever has been easy or free. I do my own stunts. What I have, I have made happen pretty much on my own, and that has meant years of steady and very hard work, saving, self-discipline, and, in the realm of relationships, intense loyalty and emotional investment (also a few bucks worth of therapy).

Maybe that's what accounts for the extreme pleasure and satisfaction of seeing my life take shape to be something, well, rather close to what I wanted it to be, with a few surprise elements mixed in.

Very early on, I clearly remember deciding to go for happiness, and you know what? I found it. As a kid I just sort of instinctually knew...that I would have to insist on it. That I couldn't compromise and that there would be no shortcuts. That it's not an easy path to walk. That lots of things would try and throw me off the path to happiness. Some by masquerading as happiness (money, selfish ambition, the promise of a "better" or "easier" life with someone else or somewhere else), and some by overshadowing it. Disappointment. Bitterness. Loss.

I have walked through the valley of the shadow of yuck, most surely, and for many years, but I feared no evil because I really did believe with all of my big squishy heart that I would come out on the other side happy.

The Bible, since you mentioned it, says people can be "refined" by fire, like metal. You can get burned up and blackened by life, or you can let the fire burn away the impurities and come out solid.

This week in particular I am filled with motherly gratitude. As all mothers can attest, it is the nirvana of motherhood to be able to raise your children as you wish to, providing them with the things you value.

Last night as we sat on a bougainvillea-covered patio eating dinner and talking--about our upcoming trip to Spain, about the day spent surfing and kayaking, about our goals--I felt, I don't know, rewarded? Blessed? Fortunate? I guess all of the above, and peaceful too.

I am exquisitely aware that I have a privileged life (even if to others it doesn't look that way), and that most parents don't have the option of taking care of their children the way they would like.

That's why I get the deepest joy out of things that seem silly; a bag full of new jeans for school, air conditioning, organic cherries, a Fleet Foxes song that comes on the radio as we drive along the ocean. These things make me feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

Today my kids are doing this

to this bridge, and then anchoring for lunch and a swim

And very, very soon we are all going to there

and there

This morning I dropped by the thrift store and bought a European resort wear wardrobe for $16.50 including two pair of shoes.

Want to see me model them with my knobby knees and freckles and gap-tooth grin? Come back later and see if I convince the husband to play fashion photographer!


  1. i love this post. mo

  2. Summer,

    That sounds incredible! Experiences are just so much more valuable than things. We're saving up to go to Brazil, but it'll be a couple of years. Have fun and we definitely want pix!


  3. Okay Lady,
    This is it, the post that actually got me to comment. Your insight and wisdom is dead on and I hope that in eight years, when my daughter is going through the 13 year old thing, I can endure it as contentedly as you. Spain looks amazing, I hope you have a fabulous time.

    Amber (your "sister" from another mother)

    ps. If I make it down to San Diego, will you pretty please take me thrifting with you???

  4. Are you trying to make us cry?! It almost worked. Honestly I did get misty eyed! That was beautifully expressed. I am and always have been so proud of you!!

  5. Thanks, all!
    Glad I "outed" you Amber! Come back and chat!

  6. Barcelona is a dream, and the best part about wearing all thrift clothes??? you can splurge on amazing spanish leather goods/

  7. I should also say the worst part about wearing all thrift clothes, is leaving your fave pair of vintage (irreplaceable) sandals at the hotel in Bilbao. CAUTION


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