It is summer break time here in the Spencer home. This means that we get to experience all the benefits of having a professor in our home. The grading is finished except for a few stray papers, and we can enjoy each and everyday as a family.
The professor likes to spend his summer weekdays working. He starts work in his study shortly after the kids are dressed and fed or after we go to morning mass, and the girls go to play. I am experiencing a new freedom in having older children. They are mostly self sufficient when it comes to entertaining themselves. They go outside or stay inside and imagine and play all together.
I serve up the occasional snack, lend a hand in the occasional bodily need, and serve out just punishments when necessary. The baby tags along with the girls or plays on the floor wherever I am. It is slow, lazy, and wonderful.
I have a long list of things to do that I did not get to over the past few months when school time was the priority. We have weddings to go to soon and vacations planned. But we also have the long lazy days of summer. We have the grilled meats and vegetables, the cool salads, the iced tea and cold press coffee. We have the hours for reading and writing. We have the joys of family activities. We have the green things growing in the garden.
I can’t help but think of what the professor wrote about yesterday when he spoke of the end of lilactime.
“But it is also well that the lilacs die. There is something enervating about too much spring vitality. One longs at moments, even as summer swells its glorious fruit, for the hard angles of Winter. To be ever soft and rococo, to turn the good sentiments of love to the banalities of tenderness and sentimentality–this is intolerable.”
The summer is only sweet because we have persevered through the winter. We had a lovely autumn, a cold winter, waited with anticipation at the bursts of warmth we had in spring and finally a final frost in mid-May, and now we can fully appreciate the glories of summer. But summer, too, will come to an end, as lilactime has. But for now, I am anticipating and savoring everyday of this warmth, and the joys of cold salads and cool drinks and lazy summer days.