This was the summer of Phineas and Ferb, the delightfully clever and fun and cheerful cartoon that all three kids watched every morning at 8am as they eased into the day.
This was the summer of a playground playgroup sponsored by our town that Alec went to every Tuesday for 6 weeks. And this program was what gave me the reassurance that Alec would be just fine in preschool. He interacted with the kids, waved at the teacher, participated in the activities and generally tamped down my deepest anxieties about his ability to socially interact with the world around him.
This is was the summer of my 20th high school reunion, which I chose not to attend. Thank you, Facebook, for allowing me to see how everyone turned out.
This was the summer we finally started using our firepit outside and roasted marshmallows, ate s'mores, drank a few adult beverages, and marvelled at how gorgeous the kids look in firelight.
This was the summer I gave up watching baseball. I simply cannot stand the pace of games anymore.
This was the summer I read the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy with great gusto and simultaneous embarrassment. I liked the second book the best. Dan picked up Fifty Shades Freed one day, skimmed two pages and seeing his shocked reaction was worth all the hours I spent reading them.
This was the summer that I wrote in my head a terrific parody of the Fifty Shades of Grey books, minus the smut, of course, but decided it wasn't worth my time. Let's just say there was a lot of lip biting by Ana and smirking by Christian. And the main plot was that Ana and Christian are watching television one night and Ana wants to change the channel, which sets Christian off into a tirade about how stubborn and sexy she is. Ana, in response, flies off the handle, smashes the television to bits, and just when it seems Christian is going to storm out, she bites her lip and brushes her backside up against him. He shakes his head as if to clear his mind of how angry he is, smirks, and whiskes her off to bed. (And for those of you who have not read the book, that's the gist of it. I've just saved you about 900 pages of reading.)
This was the summer we gave Michaela much more freedom than my stomach was able to handle. But still no cell phone.
This was the summer we went to the Cohoes Falls and the Erie Canal Locks, both local sightseeing landmarks that I have not seen in my 38 years of living here.
This was the summer we refinanced our mortgage to get a better rate. I did all the research for it and it was my project. I knew how much Dan truly trusted and loved me when he showed up to the attorney's office for the closing, asked me if this was all good, and then signed each paper without hesitation.
This was the summer I didn't go into our hot tub once.
This was the summer the girls tried twice to camp outside overnight and didn't make it either time.
This was the summer filled with therapy and trips to the grocery store and to the playground and neighborhood kids coming in and out and driving the girls to playdates. It seemed like we didn't do too much but for some reason every day was filled.
This was the summer we celebrated Dan's dad's 70th birthday by helping to throw a surprise party for him that he loved.
This was the summer that I instituted a six-inch perimeter of personal space for when Michaela is talking to me. She tends to enjoy speaking directly to my right cheek with lots of enthusiasm and energy.
This was the summer I started to ride my bike again after 4 years of neglect.
This was the summer we went on vacation again. We hit the Cape for a week in August and loved every minute of it. We stayed in a house in Harwich we loved. We loved most of the places we ate, the beaches we went to, and the activities we did. Our secret: don't go to the beach every single day. We mixed it up and the kids loved it.
This was the summer that I stood on the bow of a boat in Hyannis Harbor, looking out onto an unbroken horizon of sea, and felt more peace than I have in months. I memorized the moment in my head.
This was the summer I saw my first nephew by baptized by his father, who is my little brother, who also was involved in each of my own children's baptisms.
This was the summer Alec finally started sleeping in past 5:30am.
This was the summer that Jenna sat on me, leaned on me, and laid on top of me until I had enough and told her, "Jenna, I am not a chair."
This was the summer Michaela realized she shouldn't have to go to bed at the same time as her 7-year-old sister.
This was the summer Alec got evaluated by an OT and confirmed our suspicions that he "processes sensory information differently than a typical child", but did not qualify for OT services, which was a big relief. I did not need another therapist coming into the house. It would put me over the edge for sure.
This was the summer I read Crusoe's Daughter, A State of Wonder, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Fifth Witness, The Big House,and a few other books I can't remember. Most were very good.
This was the summer the girls went to Girl Scout camp with very mixed results and one angry phone call to the camp director.
This was the summer Jenna thought she didn't want to go to quilt camp with her sister, but ended up going for four days. And they both made beautiful quilts.
This was the summer I went back to yoga class and had my butt regularly kicked by my trainer.
This was the summer that Alec went to the dentist for the first time, a feat I thought would certainly be impossible six months ago. Not only impossible but ludicrous, ridiculous, and laughable.
This was the summer of watching the Olympics with the girls, especially the gymnastics.
This was the summer Michaela graduated from camper to helper at the Vacation Bible School she's attended since she was four. She loved every minute of it, and the director of the camp declared her "a rock star".
This was the summer of ONE DIRECTION! ONE DIRECTION! ONE DIRECTION!! OOOOOOMMMMGGGG!!!
This was the summer I had 20 or so projects planned to do around the house, and I accomplished exactly two: cleaned out Michaela's closet and made Jenna a headband holder.
This was the summer I asked Alec if his speech therapist was nice, and he answered, "Yes... and beautiful."
This was the summer that we decided that 13 and a half years was a good run for our incontinent, howling, sleeps-all-the-time kitty Kiki, and said a very sad goodbye to her. We miss her more than we thought we would. We're more sad than we thought we would be. And when an actual pawprint of hers showed up in a lovely card sent from the vet a few days later, we crumbled.
This was the summer that my dad was diagnosed with cancer.
This was the summer my family did what I knew we would do: all grasped hands and faced this devastating news together.
This was the summer I learned more than I ever wanted to know about ports, chemo drugs, tumors, and cancer care centers.
This was the summer my family found out how wonderfully supportive our friends and family and church family can be.
This was the summer I prayed and prayed and prayed.
This was the summer I searched for God and found Him there all along.