by Kimberlea Chabot
Summer is often the pause between the noise in our busy lives. We revel in the anticipation of vacation, of warmer weather adventures, and of days ruled only by a softened pace. One of my favorite moments each summer is watching the sun sink lower in the sky while allowing for one last dip in the waves as they crash against the shore. I know these vacation days will all be memories soon and summer will come to a screeching halt. Soon, I will find myself packing lunches, helping with homework, and managing schedules. Soon, I will be calling for decent bedtimes instead of calling the kids out of the pool.
Meals will stop being thrown together with what is on hand or from the garden, like this year’s abundant basil, cucumbers and tomatoes. Instead, dinners will be calculated, planned and squeezed in between sports and ballet practice. Outfits and jackets and socks worn with shoes will take over. The outdoors will become less expansive within the shorter, crisp days and seem just out of reach from our busy lives filled once again with school, work, and other activities.
One of my favorite pauses this summer was writing letters to my teenage daughter at camp. I was able to share all the things in my heart that are sometimes difficult to say between nagging her for the third time to put her dishes in the sink and reprimanding her about draining our cellphone data plan. In these letters, I was able to share the pieces of me that I don't often reveal to her, like letting her in on a secret club. I wrote about her many strengths and how much I love her. I delighted in taking time to sit and read her letters back to me, full of wide-eyed wonder at the world she is just coming to know.
As she begins her high school experience, I know the expectations, demands, and pressures will increase. I hope to remember to pause and take the time to write her a letter, simply as a reminder of all the wonderful things I love about her —maybe even writing to her when the air is thick between us and we each could use a moment of connection to get through a challenging time.
With the days of summer now numbered, my hope is to invite this pause into the hectic days ahead. I want to invite this stillness in. Make room for it. Welcome it and take a piece of summer with me through the months ahead.
I wonder what shape this pause could take in each of our own lives. Maybe it will be the deep breath needed before responding to a young child or the pause that teaches us to not fill uncomfortable silence during a difficult conversation. Perhaps we’ll learn to sit with undigested emotions that keep bubbling to the surface, or maybe we’ll skip the indoor sports practice to pause and enjoy a glorious autumn day as a family. Maybe it’s taking time to sit down for every meal, instead of eating in the car or leaning against the kitchen counter. Maybe the pause will be a blocked-off space on the calendar to schedule in that weekly yoga class that lets our heart sing.
What will your pause of summer look like in the cooler days ahead? I think mine will be setting aside time for the things that I love with a pace that reminds me of summer’s carefree attitude. I know I will need to continually invite stillness in to my life, though. This will allow me to find the pause I need before making a choice — those thousands of choices I make each day as a mom! Each decision will bring me closer to who I want to be in the moment, while evoking that feeling of sand beneath my feet, firmly connected to my days in the sun.
Kimberlea Chabot is the founder of a hyper-local resource for holistic living called LuckyPennyFound. She lives in West Hartford, Connecticut and considers her husband of 18 years and their three children to be both her greatest blessings – and her greatest challenge to living mindfully.