The summer days—and the light—seem to have hit us all, collectively, in New England by surprise. Winter was hard, and spring wily. I do believe that during this week before the solstice, though, we have pretty much arrived (those final snow day makeup days notwithstanding). And that brings me to Standing in the Shadows’ FIFTH Summer Wish List. (Hey, in comments, feel free to add yours).
1. Last week, I wrote about the list as part of a post for Brain Child Magazine’s blog—about my big summer hope that is to read more: I want to read more; I want my kids to jump back into books, and I’d like to read aloud to my kids. This prompted me to peruse a couple of years’ worth of my list—and cower about what I don’t ever really end up doing and about how fun the list is, and to wonder what amount would feel good. My current mantra to myself is about adherence to what matters most to me, and it’s kind of bare bones. The list, in comparison, is much more expansive than I feel at the cusp of solstice. That said once I go into wish list mode I cannot guarantee what will happen.
I noted on that blog post about summer reading and wishes that I look forward to one more round of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle aloud and that I have a profound, growing reverence for Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie books. I do imagine that by the time first grade begins we’ll fill a shelf with them. I would, right there, count summer as a “win” if that were the case.
2. Speaking of things kid-centered, Paintbox Theatre has a vagabond adventure planned for this summer with two shows—Cinderella and then a world premiere of Cornelia Funke’s The Pirate Girl—at the Northampton Senior Center and then Tarzan in the grandstand at the Fairgrounds. I know it’ll be madcap fun all around (and in new places). So, tell a friend about this one, please.
3. A flat of strawberries down, other berries plus apricots and peaches and nectarines ahead—jam season, as in make it has begun. And I am beside myself happy about that.
4. I haven’t worked out where or when to do a little communing with strawberries in the patch. That is not optional for me. I remembered last week how I wrote about the strawberry fields a few years ago.
5. We will also pick blueberries.
6. Youngest kid rides a bicycle now, so there will be some easygoing (maybe?) rides ahead. Can I dream that a brother or two will join us? I can dream, yes I can.
7. My pal Cher suggested a fanciful summer jar of fortunes if you will, each with a thing to do (more fun than chores, but both). I floated the idea to the eleven year-old and he nearly bit my head off. However, I have a Plan B to take a couple of dreams and make them happen. For example, I know the rising sixth grader wants to go to New York. That seems possible. As for independence building, I am bracing myself for the likelihood that this won’t be much fun. For the small gal, a jar with fun adventures remains in the realm of possibility. I know that amongst my small gal’s top wishes is to get a “mani/pedi” with me, although I’m not sure she really knows what that is. I think a too-hot-to-do-much day could include painting our nails (and I can’t believe I just wrote that).
8. The girl has pierced ears now, too and I bet we’ll end up with a new pair of earrings (or two). I am sure to buy her first pair of earrings not purchased the day she got her ears pierced (at Claire’s Accessories, and got a second pair for a deal) at a local shop. This is not hardship duty, by the way. To shop my local stores is a year-round endeavor.
9. My love for my little city comes out on Facebook, where I started Only in Northampton. Contrary to popular opinion, it’s not exactly my secret identity, but a little bit so perhaps. I have some ideas about the page to try this summer. Think, photo contest.
10. I like to explore farmers’ markets beyond my zip code. Of course I love my Tuesday Market best (and I have a punch card to make my weekly Old Friends Farm microgreens’ acquisitions easier). Locals, CISA can help you do that, too. I know I’ll end up on a drive or two to camp that will allow for some farm store stops.
11. One independence-building project has to do with teenager laundry.
12. Family project is to get more sleep, better sleep and get the bedtime routine reworked, because it is a fail. I could even put a hashtag in front of that, it’s even #epicfail at the moment.
13. Excited to see All Washed Up and Nowhere to Go at New England Youth Theatre, a play written by our pal (and former housemate), which will take us over the line to Brattleboro.
14. More on kid-related entertainment: Circus Smirkus will be at the Fairgrounds in August and if your kids haven’t seen it or you haven’t, put this on your calendar right now. It hasn’t traveled to Hampshire County in many years and was a high point of my older kids’ younger summers (and ours). I truly cannot wait—and this benefits North Star Academy to boot.
15. Like so many, I do know my ‘tween boy wants to see The Fault in Our Stars (he’s reading the book) and so I want to take him. I know, bring tissues.
16. He also wants to work on his sushi rolling skills. I think that would count as a great summertime culinary art project.
17. Mostly, I’d be happy if we enjoyed time hanging around. We have plenty of yoyo’s and kendamas.
18. Ahem, trampoline park! It’s in Hartford, near enough to us to visit. Count a certain eleven year-old terrain park on skis loving boy and his gymnastics-loving sister in.
19. Television is more often my speed and I don’t really know what I’ll devour next. Honestly, I’m still thinking about season finale of The Americans and obviously, I await the start of Nashville’s third season, but that’s not summer wishing (had to get it in there). PS: The song I can’t stop listening to this week via Nashville is Lennon and Maisy’s rendition of Joy Parade.
20. However, I noted that during Pride Month I could watch a couple of movies I missed (which is code for practically every movie). The Kids are All Right and TransAmerica here I come. We did, in December, finally see Before Midnight (at home, on the couch, no kids in the house=date moment) and it was completely worth the wait. So what if that was on last summer’s wish list?
21. Shelburne Falls’ community dinner on the iron bridge sounds very, very extremely cool (the video is worth watching). I didn’t know about this before (found out for a story). I just might have to go.
22. Essential: hanging by water.
23. Also essential: impromptu hangout time with people I love and with people I like and with people the people I love love and like.
24. Obviously, I do not limit my friend hanging choices strictly by age. I welcome my younger friends.
25. Evening walks with friends, possibly my dear hubs, and with big, ‘tween and teen kids have commenced and will continue.
27. The house, a year later, has benefitted from my continued efforts to get rid of things we don’t use—and so, goodbye more things we don’t need.
28. While I confess to mundane wishes, here’s another: whittle my email inbox back to “consistently reasonable.” No, I will not confess how bloated it is right now.
29. Small goal: to go somewhere in the direction of the Berkshires for some cultural event I am excited to enjoy, be it Jacob’s Pillow, a night of grooving at the DreamAway Lodge, theater, or music at Tanglewood. I haven’t looked really, I’m not sure that I want to set my sights high, but surely, once? That feels attainable and happy-making.
30. Another small goal is to find a typewriter for my eldest. His desire is a manual one; I think the younger kids would enjoy an electric. We may channel our inner-1970s.
31. I promised my recent Smith grad babysitter-slash-friends this graduation gift—real mail at their new real addresses. I will also send mail to camp. Yes, Essentials will be part of my mail call rounds, as will my organized cubby, because I did sort through all of my stationery this winter. That was a gargantuan task in itself.
33. How much corn will we eat? That is a question to answer in September, when all is said and done.