I used to daydream of landscaping my backyard. I even drew my dreams on paper and told the dear man who has mown my lawn these dozen years that I had a plan. He said he would help make it happen...whenever I was ready.
I dreamt of river rock and knock-out roses, of crape myrtles and agapanthus, of shepherd's hooks with hanging baskets full of flowers, of stepping stones and a bench among the flowers.
But when that dear man came to mow my lawn last week, we talked about the big brown patches in the middle of the grass out back.
"Fungus?" he wondered.
"Children," I said.
"You sure?" he asked.
"I'm certain," I said.
And I smiled because I couldn't have been more pleased.
For countless days this summer, the happy chaos of children's voices rang out from the backyard as they shot water guns, kicked soccer balls, and dove down the Slip 'n Slide. The wooden gate swung wide as kids came from down the street to join ongoing games of badminton, volleyball, or dodgeball. And the dog went skidding across the wood floor a dozen times a day in his rush to alert us that another friend had arrived to play.
Out front, the basketball pounded the pavement in the carefree rhythm of summer, and little ones drew pictures on concrete and plucked pink flowers with pink painted nails.
There were afternoons at the pool and a party with cupcakes and brightly wrapped packages.
And in the midst of it all, a cluster of star-gazer lilies on the kitchen table reminded me of a 16-year-old vow . . . the first notes of this summer song.
But the yard has been quiet this week as kids have gone back to school. Green blades of grass are already peeking through the patches worn brown and thin by so many happy feet scrubbing the ground bare with their play. And as much as I looked forward to the return of routine, the lessons at the kitchen table, children scratching out products and quotients and sums . . . I'm grateful for the unscripted noise that was summer . . . the scrubbed bare yard, the barking dog, the cacophony of children that became summer's song.
Continuing to count His gifts and grace . . .
1416 kids in the backyard playing badminton
1417 ...and volleyball
1418 ...and soccer
1419 ...and dodgeball
1420 ...and lacrosse
1421 a house full of kids laughing, playing games, slurping lemonade, munching popcorn
1422 husband, kids, and dog all snuggled up together on the sofa
1423 stargazer lily on the table...beauty in the midst
1424 fresh-squeezed limeade
1425 afternoons at the pool
1426 boys in the backyard playing in the pouring down rain
1427 lacrosse friends gathered for a party at the lake
1428 kids playing on the zip-line and the water trampoline
1429 drenching, soaking rain
1430 rainbow reaching clear across the sky
1431 the sweet surprise of time with a friend...a hospital waiting room & a drive to the airport
1432 coffee with a student and talking through God's Word
1433 the grace of that phone call
1434 stacks of clean laundry
1435 brand-new books on sale
1436 mornings in the Word
1437 hand-written notes of encouragement
1438 husband's patience
1439 seeing friends at the grocery store...a moment to chat
1440 girls in the kitchen making cupcakes
1441 a day-trip with friends
1442 floating in the lazy river
1443 four moms, nine kids, playing in the water all day
1444 cloud cover keeping it cool
1445 end-of-summer birthday party at the pool
1446 more cupcakes in ice cream cones
1447 festive wrapped packages
1448 so many friends gathered to celebrate
1449 his delight at having them all there
1450 returning to routine
For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
Ecclesiates 3:1, NLT