the known and the unknown

the known and the unknown

I’ve been doing so much thinking about summer lately. I’m teaching Picture Summer for one thing (there’s still time to sign up!). And I’ve been asked to share images, ideas and thoughts about what I look forward to and love about summer. I could write volumes about what I love about it but even still, I can write a list equally as long about the things I don’t like about it. I know, it might seem crazy or even impossible to find fault with a couple of months; it’s merely a season after all. And a simple one at that, where long days and warm breezes should lift spirits and encourage childhood memories and nostalgia. Well, truth is, summer is all of that for me, there is no doubt about it; when I am in the frame of mind to love and appreciate those gifts of which I am not always.

Summer also means loosing myself. And not in a good way. Losing my time to be home alone, in peace and quiet, losing undivided time to concentrate, be productive, write, blog or anything else I do on days to myself. I know this feeling well, as most mothers do where days are a blur of multi-tasking hell where nothing really feels accomplished and everything seems to be held together with thins threads pulled as tight and frayed as we are. I have long left the days of when my children tugged at the apron strings 24/7 and I have slowly staked my claim on glorious school days, structure and set hours of productivity where I have had some kind of control of what was done and when. But in the summer, all bets are off.

I’m sure many of you feel the same way and I’m probably preaching to the choir but I can tell you that as I wind down this school year, I am really trying to gear up for summer with a deliberate plan. I know all about the pitfalls of the season now. What I don’t know is how to effectivly avoid them. But what I’m willing to do this summer is open myself to learning how to travel the path into the unknown and learn a new way to do it; sunscreen on, eyes wide open, heart ready to receive. Any suggestions are greatly and humbly welcome.

What do you know of summer? What don’t you know? What are you willing to learn?

  • Amy Jo
    Posted at 19:31h, 07 June Reply

    We seem to undertake a huge move every third summer, and this is the one. We move in 11 days, so we’ll probably spend the rest of the summer exploring our new locale and hopefully making friends. My kids aren’t in school yet, so I haven’t had the oppertunity to get used to quiet days yet. A few more years though…

    Since our weather turned nice I haven’t been shooting my baby as much, since my bigger kids are always doing something they want me to photograph. So I focused on getting some shots of her enjoying the outside a little!

  • melody
    Posted at 20:01h, 07 June Reply

    Perhaps, we need to find a secret garden, plop down and sip cold drinks. *deep breath*

    And I swear my path image was chosen for today before I saw yours which is beautifully serene.

    Make A Path

  • Lisa
    Posted at 20:15h, 07 June Reply

    Yes! Exactly where I am.

    This is my first summer experiencing a child returning from school (post kindergarten) and I am adjusting to two children at home who want to do nothing but play, get out of the house…while I want to do nothing but focus on my creativity, my blog, … We are learning to work together.

    I’d love to see the suggestions others mention – until then, I’m taking one breath and one step at a time with you, smiling with my children when we are out and trying not to feel guilty when we are not. Here’s to a joyous summer for us all!

  • Cara
    Posted at 20:36h, 07 June Reply

    Right now I am in the 24/7 apron string tugging phase, so I am longing for the days when I can get 5 mins of alone time (LOL)! I recently went on "vacation" with a 2 and 3 year old which left me exhausted (but I loved being together as a family). It seems I am always waiting for things to "settle down" but as soon as that appears possible the next thing comes along.

    I did discover that I am not a landscape photographer, we went to Yosemite Nat. Park and these were my two favorite shots.

  • Cheri
    Posted at 22:27h, 07 June Reply

    My oldest is home from college for the summer. My younger two have just 9 days left for this year of high school (10th grade). I am dreading them being home full-time for the summer. I work from home and it is a battle in the summer months with them wanting me to drive them here and there, take them shopping, etc. when I SHOULD be working. Otherwise they are watching t.v. and whining that they are bored. I hope you get lots of great suggestions. I never did figure it out!

  • Lis
    Posted at 23:08h, 07 June Reply

    How timely! I have been experiencing the same anxiety this week … in fact, my blog post was sandwiched in between a trip to the zoo with guests and making dinner while my daughter is at swimming lessons. Please, share any tips!

  • The Other Laura
    Posted at 00:19h, 08 June Reply

    I’ve tried plans in summers past and wound up frustrated. I am going absolutely no expectation free form zen this summer with my nine year old boy!

  • Aia
    Posted at 03:46h, 08 June Reply

    yay! summer’s on its way! i always have a written plan of activities for my kids during summer holidays (ie: daily field trips, camps, etc.) so there is some structure & routine. it makes the summer more enjoyable & i hear less "i bored!"

  • Beth Megquier
    Posted at 12:40h, 08 June Reply

    My children are all grown, but I do remember the challenges and rewards of those times. I did not carve out enough personal creative time for myself and lost myself completely over the years and I’m just now redicovering who I am at 50.

  • Ramona
    Posted at 14:24h, 08 June Reply

    ah the pitfalls of summer.
    big ideas
    little implementation.
    my children are 15 and are looking for their first jobs. we are encouraging them to combat idleness.
    but, the big but is that means we will be chauffeuring them around quite a bit; but if it keeps them out of trouble. no big holiday plans this year.

  • Jennifer Cameron
    Posted at 23:39h, 09 June Reply

    Here’s my suggestion. Enjoy your kids. Have fun with them. Forget structure. Forget schedules. Fit your writing and blogging and artwork in when the kids are in bed, be it early in the morning or late at night. You have the blessing of an entire summer together so embrace it and have fun. Who really cares if the laundry gets done or you have peanut butter sandwiches AGAIN for dinner. When I am struggling with something like how to fit in this or that, I make a list of priorities in order of importance. That is all the clarity I need because I bet you can guess what is at the top of that list every single time, and it isn’t the blog or my artwork.

  • heidi
    Posted at 03:51h, 11 June Reply

    for me summer is bittersweet as well….i am with my 3 year old son full time all seasons but in the summer my husband works sooo much and such long hours that we don’t see him much at all. so those beach days can be so lonely and tiring for me if i let them….if i think things should be different then they are. if i accept, accept and accept some more then i start slip back into the comforting thought that all is well. just discovered your blog and enjoying it, thank you. i would love to include a best shot from my blog but i’m not sure how to code a link to it….help!

  • Tina Hirsig
    Posted at 12:18h, 11 June Reply

    It is so wonderful to read your post and know that there is a large conversation happening right now about summer and motherhood. I just wrote a post about being an artist/mother that I thought I would add it here. We are so lucky to have the tools of the internet and blogs for our voices to be heard by one another! It is good to know we are not alone in our creative lives…

    ~Tina Hirsig~

  • Jamye
    Posted at 14:16h, 11 June Reply

    Here’s a suggestion I got from a friend with 4 kids, which I am implementing this summer with my almost 5-year old: Theme Weeks. Pick a theme for each week, whatever you want: airplanes & flight, the beach, a particular food, etc. Head to the library early in the week and grab a handful of books (videos too) on that theme. When you’re looking for something to do for the kids, consider searching online for videos or photos or coloring pages related to the theme. Or see if they can create a food sculpture for lunch around the theme, etc. Plan one day to take a mini field trip, if possible, to something related to the theme. It doesn’t need to be planned out ahead of time, but having the new books in the house will supply some extra entertainment, and will spark some ideas about what to do when you’re feeling a little tired of the same old, same old stuff. And there might even be some things the kids can do on their own, in their rooms, while you steal away for your coffee and writing time (like I’m doing at this very second while my son pours over the Visual Encyclopedia’s page on flight). Give it a try.

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