School is out and summer vacation is here. After a wonderful week-long family reunion and a 100th birthday party for Honey, my grandpa, it feels like we are settling into this relaxed time of year. Dave, the girls and I have been getting up a little later each day and it’s nice to be able to move as we’d like during these quiet, morning hours. Nora goes outside and investigates insect colonies in the garden. Hazel sits in a sunny spot on the couch to re-read her favorite books for the 2nd or 10th time. I’m taking my yoga practice outside. It often starts off with a lot of time staring at the trees and clouds and listening to birds. I’m not sure what Dave is up to in the mornings. I think he is sleeping in. He likes that.
Summer feels so good. Or maybe it’s just life that I’m so happy to be a part of these days. I like that our meals are light and casual and if we aren’t going anywhere, so are our clothes. I teach most mornings, but the girls have a loose schedule which leaves lots of time for snuggles, swimming and lounging. Impressive tan lines and bleached out summer hair is already majorly underway with this crowd.
I got home Wednesday night from teaching a gentle yoga class. I’ve given up evening classes, but offered to sub for a friend. The girls were doing their bed time reading in their room– summer jammies and summer bodies stretched out on two twin beds. When I walked in, Nora was reading one of Gary Larson’s Far Side comic books (she is going on 2 months of reading nothing but Far Side) and Hazel was reading aloud from Wondla… something she has read at least two times. Dave was in bed with Nora so I snuggled up next to Hazel. She was so clean and so warm with all this tan skin and wavy hair, I could hardly stand how sweet it felt to be there with her. I leaned into her and she into me. After a minute, she adjusted her body so she’d be more comfortable and then picked up my free hand and put it on her shoulder—a cue that I was to run my fingertips up and down her arm. As I did this, I looked at Hazel—her brown arm with bleached out hairs, her child’s hands, her young-woman face. One of the things I really hope my meditation and yoga practice can do is help me to remember the details of moments like these… of me sitting next to this soft, brown and warm ten-year-old Hazel that I love so much. I really want to remember this feeling.
After a while, I turned my attention to Nora. She was on her tummy, head toward the foot of the bed with the book open in front of her. She had one knee bent and the bottom of that foot faced the ceiling. The other knee hung off the edge of the bed so when I stretched out my leg, our feet touched. The girls are so open and so responsive to touch. Nora didn’t look up when my toes met hers, but her little foot reached toward mine. My foot supported hers for a little while and she just gave me the weight of her leg. It seems so simple, but it’s kind of amazing to be able to do that… to have trust and love and comfort with each other’s bodies so that she can just give me her weight. I don’t take it for granted. I love it and I really want to be able to remember six-year-old Nora and her little feet, too.
There are these kinds of moments, more and more of them, that I can soak up and enjoy right in the moment when they are happening. I’m so grateful for this. I’m so glad I’m able to appreciate the incredible gifts of my family, of two children, of a man I love, of soft beds and loving touch when they are offered. Yoga practice has helped me to slow down so I know when these things are happening and I can actually be there, fully present for them instead of remembering when or missing something good, but not knowing exactly where it came from. This is good and I know it. Meditation has helped me to be able to have the attention so that I can tune into these moments and all the sensations that go along with them. I don’t always do it. I forget or I get caught up in my head or in plans or in details of some future event and I’m sure I’m missing out on moments and special things a lot. But I’m also around a lot, too. I want to get better at being present because getting to enjoy these moments with these ever-changing girls of mine is such a blessing. I can see how yoga practice has made this possible for me and I am so grateful.