Friday, July 1, 2011

The Summer Diaries- June Edition

"What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade.
~Gertrude Jekyll

Charlie T. and I just returned from a nice long walk. She's a trooper, that one. Now, I'm freshly showered, outside with my computer, sitting on the patio under the lovely umbrella. It's Heaven, really.

The perfection of this day is almost wrong-- the sun shinning directly upon the sweet faces of my orange daisies, my hair still wet from my shower, cool and refreshing against my back, a baby blue sky with not even the slightest hint of a cloud. This is just one of those wonderful days. You know them...the kind they write stories about. The books where the characters live these quaint lives, in charming towns, on beautiful tree-lined streets.

I've had a difficult time finding the time to write lately. Life's been busy and full and great.

Making time to perch and write about my days has been at the top of my list, but somewhere along the way it gets shuffled to the side as I take another bike ride or as Hubbo and I sit outside for hours and chat after dinner. And, at some point, I have to sleep. So, after those jam packed days of greatness, I slink off for my shower and snooze on the couch with CT, while Ninja reads his stocks and studies investment stuff and reads sports news. Then, he wakes me, and off we go-- to dreamland-- where the next morning the cycle repeats.

Looking back over the month of June, it's amazing to think of all that has filled those little squares on my calendar. From a beach vacation to random adventures, it's been eventful. I finished two more grad classes, wrote one too many research papers, studied A LOT, and, above all, learned that I am capable of more than I think. Those grad classes pushed me. They pushed me because they made me prioritize my life, and to be honest, I didn't appreciate that. In fact, I resented it-- like really resented it. I found myself mad that the things in life that brought me the most happiness were often being pushed to the bottom of my list. And, to be honest, that really made me mad. But, a few weeks ago, I got it, and I was able to see the lesson that had been hiding away, waiting for the time when I was perfectly ready to understand. How grateful I am now.

One early, beautiful morning, I decided to ride my bike up town to run some errands. I loaded my basket with my essentials-- the mail that needed stamps, my list for the fruit market, a few dollars, my house keys-- and off I went. What fun! My last stop was the fruit market, where I loaded up on veggies and fruits and the necessary ingredients I needed to make a new and improved version of pasta salad.

However, the best part of that day remains so vivid in my mind. As I was attempting to stuff all of my purchases into my bike basket, the nicest gentleman came up to me. He was so sincere and genuine as he packed my basket. He carefully ensured that the weight was evenly dispersed, taking his time and adjusting just so. He balanced my bike while I got on, and told me to be careful going home. It made my day. He didn't have to do that. Most people wouldn't have taken the time. I felt "taken care of," and it was really quite nice.

A few months ago, Chad-o told me he was taking me on a surprise vacation. I knew when we were going, but I had no idea where were were venturing to. Eventually, he slipped and I pretty much figured it out, but, either way, I was excited to get back to my favorite vacation spot in the entire world-- Stone Harbor, NJ.

My family has gone to that beach every year since long before I was born, and because of that, it holds such a special place in my heart. It's a neat place; calm, and quiet, and full of families. There's no boardwalk or chain restaurants. Rather, kites dot the beaches, the tune of an ice-cream truck jingles in the distance, and beach cruisers take the place of automobiles. It's almost iconic and I simply love it.

However, due to the fact that I've done a lot of growing up in the past decade, and graduated college, and married, and started working, I had not been to my Stone Harbor in 11 years. Truthfully, I didn't really think I wanted to go back. It was a place reserved for my family of four. A place where I spent my summers building drizzle castles in the sand, eating fudge, and playing hard-core mini-golf at the Buccaneer. As much as I loved the place, part of me wanted to leave it at that. So, to be completely honest, I was a little "apprehensive" about going.

Imagine Chad-o's shock when we started unpacking and I burst into tears and cried for a solid hour. I felt badly, but the tears just kept on rolling, and those memories of my childhood grew stronger and stronger and kept coming to me in crashing waves. As I looked out onto the street that remained exactly the same, I swore I could see 20 years into the past.... There we were, waiting to cross the street, me in my purple and white bathing suit, my mom carrying that white plastic basket of sand toys, my dad juggling red,white, and blue beach chairs, a small cooler and his radio, my little brother in his water socks with a plastic dump was just too much. That was a place of a different time. A time when my whole life was ahead of me. A time when I dreamed of my future and who I would marry and how my life would end up.

It all worked out. I had my moment and my cry and my feelings of nostalgia and we ended up having the most wonderful vacation. Sharing my special place with Chad-o turned out to be even more special than I thought. But, it's hard for me to recognize that life's moving on. I probably sound silly, because obviously I caught onto that fact before going on vacation, but perhaps it was the idea that nothing at Stone Harbor had changed-- everything was the same. The shops were all there, the same restaurants continued to make dinners each night, and the sunscreen at Hoy's literally sat on the same shelf. Nothing had changed. Nothing. Yet, while nothing at Stone Harbor had changed, my entire life managed to unfold. Crazy.

We've biked and biked and biked. The trails around these parts have certainly seen their fair share of our faces. It's been beyond fun and those miles we've put on will forever hold a special place in my heart. On one particular trail, there exists an old stone wall, that probably stretches for a hundred yards or so. It was built by early immigrants to the area and I often get lost in thought thinking about how different their lives were from ours.

In their wildest dreams, they probably never imagined a leisurely bike trail passing their property. Funny how life works.

I've honestly inherited my mama's love of flowers. For some reason, this year I have enjoyed digging in the dirt and caring for my flowers more than ever. I've filled pots and containers and planted peony bulbs and organic herbs. Speaking of my mama, Jossie and I have had quite a few shopping and crafting adventures. We both agree that we need more hours in a day.

I managed to sneak in a visit with my dear friend, Greta Leigh. Spending time with her always inspires me to be a better person and makes me look at things with a new set of eyes. Having Greta is so good for me and I'm beyond blessed for the perspective she brings to my life. Watching her with her two little children made me so happy. She's such a fabulous mother. Her children are respectful and thankful and kind and loving-- not something I see enough of these days.

It's also important to note that I hosted my first ever picnic. Chad-o and I made all kinds of yummy foods and invited my dad and family over for Father's Day. All of the foods- shrimp cocktail included- turned out well, and everyone had a nice time catching up, chatting, and munching away.

And, for better or worse, my alarm clock has been going off at 5:00 am. I'm the one who sets it, so I truly have no one to blame but myself. But you see, if I don't get to the gym in the morning, I simply can't find the time to squeeze my workout in. It's good, though... I honestly love it. Being up so early makes me feel accomplished and kicks my day into gear.

Well, by now my hair has has pretty much dried. The curls and waves are rather out of control, and it's probably rather scary. But I'm OK with it. June, you see, has been a month of pony-tails, and flippies, and pink toes. It's been 5:00 am wake-ups for the gym. It's been laughs and a few tears and nurturing and love. It's been days filled with reminders of the blessings in my life.

The flowers might need a little drink, and I feel like a small snack might be calling my name.

Lately, I can't shake this feeling of being blessed. This is the good life.


Greta said...

Oh to have your eyes to see me through. I miss you dearly. xo

Maria said...

Thank you for sharing your diary! So beautiful. I laughed, cried and envisioned all your flowers around your yard and little Charlie T relaxing at your feet as you typed away. Your photos, as always, are beautiful. I read 'backwards' and saw your challenge of writing a little something each amaze me. Thanks again for coming to the project yesterday.

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