Discover more from let me tell you
How we summer
Or, "I've never done that before!"
A few weeks ago we were with my husband’s family at the lake, and Harper wanted to do a talent show with all of her cousins. Side note: Harper has never not wanted to put together a talent show, a play, her own musical rendition of Taylor Swift, or anything that gives her the opportunity for everyone to watch her. If you’re ever invited to dinner at our house, now you know.
The kids grabbed my phone for music, and went to a secret location to practice their performances. When they all came back about twenty minutes later, Harper announced that it was time for the adults to all stop what they were doing and watch the talent show. She went first, and pulled out what I will call a beautifully unique genre of interpretive dance to Mandisa. My niece was up next, and dazzled us all with cartwheels and backbends and somersaults across the lawn. Then my nephew did a fabulously creative cannonball off the dock.
And then it was Jordi, my seven-year-old’s, turn.
To preface my re-telling of his performance, I want you to know something about Jordi: he is quite possibly the most tender seven-year-old boy alive. He still mostly sleeps on our floor because he likes to be near us, and he loves to run and jump in my arms and then stay there like a big, cuddly panda for a few minutes. He regularly facilitates reenactments of Bluey episodes with his three younger siblings, and he cries whenever someone else in the family is crying, because he genuinely hates when people are sad. He is super low maintenance, and some end of the day snuggles make him feel like he can do anything. He basically affirms my bias that seven-year-old boys might be the greatest of all humans.
So that’s Jordi.
For a week or so before this talent show, Jordi had been in the backyard nearly every day working on his hand stand. I tried to show him how to kick his feet up in the air and lean them against the fence for support, but he was landing his feet onto the fence so hard my next door neighbor came outside worried we were going to knock it over. I mean, we definitely weren’t, but you know, live peaceably with everyone and all.
I rolled my eyes every so slightly, and we moved to the fence on the other neighbor’s side.
He was definitely getting stronger with each day of practice, but he wasn’t proficient and certainly couldn’t do a full handstand without the support of the fence yet. Still, he was determined, and I love that about Jordi.
And now it was his turn to perform in the cousin talent show. He picked one of his favorite songs, Wavewalker, and started to groove into his own rendition of break dancing. He spun, he ninja chopped the air, he threw in a few headbangs and we all sat on the porch cheering with each move.
And then I watched him take a few steps back and size up the space in front of him. I knew what was coming, friends. The handstand. Jordi took a few fast paced steps to gain momentum and threw his hands to the ground with total abandon and what I probably would have characterized as a little bit of ridiculous belief in himself.
I cringed every so slightly waiting for the full body crash to the ground, but instead, we all saw a tiny miracle.
Jordi’s feet stayed in the air, perfectly balanced above his body. And then, hand to heaven, he started walking on his hands. His arms and core—that I swear the day before could not even balance with the support of a fence—held his body up like it was the most natural thing in the world to do a handstand walk. Jordi took five or six hand-steps forward and then his legs fell controlled to his side, and he stood upright.
I went (the tiniest bit) nuts. I jumped out of my seat and began cheering wildly from the porch, clapping and hollering and generally being obnoxious with pride for my boy. If only I had a cowbell nearby, I would have been ringing it with gusto. To witness a moment when your child does something he had no idea he could do, I hope every parent gets that in their lifetime.
Jordi looked over at all of us with the happiest of surprised looks on his face. Then he held his hands out in front of him in an I don’t even know how that happened manner, smiled wide and said in disbelief, “I’ve actually never done that before!”
I tackled him in a hug.
Everyone needs a reason to lose their chill completely sometimes, and Jordi’s handstand gave me one.
// How we summer
Up in the Pacific Northwest where we live, summer is our moment. I’ve traveled to or lived in all four corners of the US in my life and I’m telling you, for about ten weeks a year, there is no better place than the PNW. (We put up with like six months of winter and 3:45pm darkness so please, just allow me a moment to brag about it).
Summer in our family means many many many days at the lake, sprinklers under the trampoline, walks to the ice cream shop, this vegetable salad which is better than all the other salads, a good reading list (we talk about all of the books on this episode of the Coffee + Crumbs podcast), a hose, the smell of sunscreen and essential oil bug spray, this super fun dome rocker which has resulted in only minor injuries thus far, and a whole lot of gratitude. Not that we aren’t thankful in every season, but I don’t know, there is just a little extra fullness when your son runs over to you from the splash pad at the park just to say, “Mom, I love summer!” then runs back through the fountains for more.
// A few things I want to tell you about:
I’m leading a four-week writing workshop this summer, and I’d love to have you join me! It’s small and personal, so we can go deeper together on a few of the stories you’ve been wanting to tell. We’ll have Zoom calls, a Voxer group, and generative time with the crew to help develop your writing. You can grab a spot here!
Alex did two triathlons, a marathon and an ultramarathon in the last year, and I started to feel jealous. My left knee is already in need of replacing so running is out for me, but you all know how I feel about my bike rides so we decided to do a triathlon together, relay style. He swims, I bike, he runs. This works out great for me because while I do love to swim, I’m at the age where the skin under my eyes will stayed wrinkled and creased from the goggles for hours. Actual hours, friends. And there’s nothing the Frownies can even do about it. So I’m going to stick with the bike. I’ll admit that I was a little bit cocky about the training, given that I’ve done several hundred Peloton rides this year—but y’all, my first big outdoor hill humbled the heck out of me. I’ve also fallen twice at busy intersections when I couldn’t unclip fast enough. Hopefully I didn’t know anyone driving by at the moment, but we do live in a small town so chances are I was caught. But I’m thrilled to have a real competition on the horizon again. I’ve got two months to not embarrass myself, which is really my only goal here.
Did you know I wrote a book last year? I did. And the support this little project of my heart has received has been, and continues to be, so humbling to me. Can I ask you friends, if you have read the book and not left a review on Amazon or Goodreads, would you mind taking 2-3 minutes to do that? You can write the same review on each site, copy and paste. While Gluing the Cracks has been out since the fall, it’s always helpful to writers to continue building support for their work and the exposure it can get, and the algorithms just love those reviews 😉 In addition, it helps long term with future projects, and I have a few of those coming up! Cards on the table: I feel the slightest bit icky to straight up ask, but I have no idea how to make a reel trying to entice you in a more engaging way so here I am, straight up asking. Thank you for your grace.
// If at the end of the summer, we can all say with joyful surprise, “I’ve never done that before!” I think we can call that a good summer. Just remember, bring a little bit of ridiculous belief in yourself with you.