Even as an adult who works full time (indoors, mostly at a computer) all year long, I still associate summertime with those sacred weeks of lazy bliss that I experienced during school breaks. It's so easy for me to view this time of year in that ethereal, idealized sort of way - where when I close my eyes, I see the daytime as bare feet and sundresses and swimming pool lounging under butterscotch lighting, and the nighttime as campfire-scented air and friends and music and fireflies and infinite stars. And although the reality is that it's been a long time since June through August meant a break from school, it still has, for the most part, represented a break for me.
I started my clothing company not long after graduating from college, and my summer schedules began to fill with vending events. I traveled the country in a 1978 Southwind RV, hitting up music festivals small and massive, peddling my wares. It was a busy time, but it felt much slower than the rest of the year, when I mostly locked myself inside behind a sewing machine. It was a lot of work, but it felt like a break to get out and wander. In between those festivals, I visited friends, camped in the woods, found hidden swimming holes, explored new cities, enjoyed life.
Over time, the line evolved (and the RV was replaced with a more reliable vehicle, and eventually by airplane flights), and I started exhibiting at fashion and eco-related events that were held year-round, rather than just in the summertime like the music festivals. But summer still meant something different than the rest of the year for me. It continued to be a time for fun, relaxation, and travel - often to meet up with Robbie on the road during the band's summer tours, or to take weekend trips with him and Bubby dog during his breaks, or to go on spontaneous adventures with friends. It also continued to represent a break from the norm, and (like the days of constant festival vending) felt slow and easy, despite the constant go-go-go.
These days, things have continued to change, and as life does as you get older, become more complicated. The commitment to spend every weekday working on the blog as a business has created more of a repetitive daily work schedule for me than the more varied schedule of my past career - and this one doesn't adjust for the summer. This is also my first summer as a mom, which, of course, is the biggest change of all. But I've made a promise to myself not to let shifts in life, big or small, cause that sweet summertime slowdown to disappear. If anything, I want to focus even more on continuing to make those idealistic summer daydreams of mine a reality. I want Essley to experience the simple joys of these magical months; I want her to be able to close her eyes as an adult and see the same things I do when she envisions summertime. I think that now more than ever, I am consciously aware of how important it is to step away from the bubble of the day-to-day and enjoy this precious time of year.
Robbie is home for two whole weeks right now, and to celebrate our first real time together this summer, we're heading up to our favorite little lake town for two days tomorrow - our first mini getaway as a family of three. I can't wait to watch Essley feel sand between her toes for the first time. I can't wait to eat ice cream cones and stare at the boats and feel the sunshine on my face and not think about anything other than enjoying the moment. I can't wait to just be - with my two favorite people, basking in the summertime slowdown that I've come to adore so much throughout my life.
No matter where you are, or how old you are, or what you do for a living, make it a priority to give yourself the chance to slow down a little this summer. These days go by fast you guys. Make them count.
P.S. The photos in this post are some random snaps from summertime adventures of the past few years. I'm looking forward to adding more to the collection over the coming weeks.