The traces of summer, they’re vanishing, replaced by school buses, football scores and crimson leaves littering my front lawn.
Fall creates new rhythms that escort us all the way around the sun to next year’s summer and one of my favorite weekly routines is Wednesday night high school small group. In advance of our inaugural meeting, I texted the girls: “Choose a handful of pictures to share what’s been memorable about your summer.”
When it was my turn, I started swiping.
First off, came our summer kick off hike to Sleeping Bear dunes with the new guy on the block.
Then, our yellow rose of Texas, made her weeklong appearance, a time honored annual tradition.
Right after that, we celebrated my strong, tender, funny, smart, pretty, talented, determined and incredibly resilient niece, Mercedes’, high school graduation.
Followed by the boy with the British accent who flew across the sea in a dreamliner and endeared himself to the whole fam with his wit, charm and text chatting expertise.
We played tourist in Chicago one last time before loading up the big girl’s earthly belongings and carting them back home as she transitions between chapters in her story.
After that, we took a family vacation to remember in the little red cottage on Big Star Lake and I rode on a jet ski every single day.
The next week, I flew to Dallas to visit one of my besties.
And then, I flipped the page on the calendar to September and took one last ride in my floatie on a perfect, cloudless beach day because, really, every summer begins and ends with Lake Michigan, doesn’t it?
I guess I’d call this my e-brag book but what really makes me swell with pride is the way I watched my girls flex their muscles at fear and risk stepping out of their comfort zones.
I’d label 2018 an official Summer of Courage.
The baby, she faced off fears with her own personal trainer named Daddy. That led to adventure courses and mud runs, cliff jumping, roller coaster riding and so much more. In the end, her West Virginia trip T-shirt and her neon colored bracelets were far more than clothing and accessories, they became trophies of bravery.
The next one, she took a headlong leap into dating 101, trading her dogmatic commitment to self-protection for the risk of trust and began to learn some fundamental lessons about relationships and share some pretty awesome memories with her special buddy.
The introverted one, she packed her bags, left the security of her safe zone and flew away twice. First, to Mexico where she participated in cutting and sewing on people instead of textiles. And she loved it. Later, she travelled back to Dallas, and that, dear reader, was no small act of valor.
The big girl, she challenged herself to risk failure in the small stuff to beef up her risk threshold before moving overseas. In the process, she learned to dance, play pool, go on carnival rides, paddle board and water ski.
And me, I just kept trying to cheer them all on.
And that was enough….
In our small group, after we scrolled through everybody’s pictures, we decided to go to Goodwill and buy fancy wine glasses for 99 cents each. Every time we meet, we’ll fill them with sparkling grape juice and other non-alcoholic concoctions and call our time together “Happy Hour” because when we glance back through the rearview mirror and see the goodness of God in this past summer, we confidently anticipate his fresh, mercies for every day from now until the next one.
And that’s something to be happy about.