And just like that (snaps her fingers), summer was over. We swam and played and traveled and built Lego worlds and ate ice cream and saw old friends. And we have sunny, freckled shoulders for souvenirs. Now it's time for early mornings and pencils and backpacks and school friends again. I'm ready. Maybe more than I should be?
This morning, as I drove the winding, country roads to Sam's school, we talked about the weather and the fog and he pointed out a tiny crack in the cloud cover where a bit of bright orange sun was breaking through. I, like all mothers probably do, explained how the sun is always there, behind the clouds, even when we can't see it. I told him what it was like to fly in a plane and how a plane can push through the clouds and make it to the other side where the sun is still shining and the sky is still blue. (And in true, four-year-old fashion, he asked if you could touch the sun once you were above the clouds. Um, no, son, you can't. And don't stare at it either.) So, I went on to tell Sam that the sun is 93 million miles away from the earth, which I'm pretty confident didn't really sink in. But then, even my 36-year old brain has a hard time comprehending 93 million miles.
We drove in quiet for a moment and then I told him how God put the sun exactly the right distance away from Earth so that it wouldn't be too hot or too cold for us to live here. And how, if the sun were any closer, close enough to touch per se, that we would all be toast. I'm not even sure Sam heard me. But, as that simplistic, partial explanation of our solar system came out of my mouth, I couldn't help but pause for a moment and let that fact sink in. And, I was reminded that there are no accidents, no coincidences and no random acts with God. He is always intentional.
A summer of fun and crazy little people and traveling and friends and pool time has left little time for reflection or quiet and I realize that as summer ends (as far as the school year is concerned, because it's still 92 degrees of summer up in here), I have been just about to sputter out emotionally and spiritually. Parenting small people from daybreak to late evening (and sometimes the middle of the night) leaves little time for things like introspection and heart thoughts or even just moments to breathe deep. It's more like a roller coaster ride that doesn't allow getting off or bathroom breaks or showers. And so, even though I miss my firstborn now that the school year has begun, I'm more than a little thankful for some quiet moments to pause and reflect and take deep breaths (at least until the baby wakes up...).
So often I lose a sense of what's outside of my house - the bigger narrative, the world that is happening outside of these rooms that I am raising children in, the sun that is just above those clouds that, on some days, feel so dark and heavy and foreboding. I forget that He is not far. And that He is working out details that I am unaware of, because He knows what is needed.
And so, this school year begins for me with a small reminder of His goodness on the car ride to school and the promise of more reminders to come.