p h o t o b y s e a n r o b e r t s o n
I woke up one morning laying on a damp pillowcase and itchy from mosquito bites...Summer had arrived. It made me smile the softest of smiles. I swung my legs out of bed, went to the window, opened it wide and inhaled. It was F R E S H and
H O T. Somehow along the way everything morphed into luscious green. There's something about this season's arrival that makes everything all better, in my opinion. There's so many damn good things about it, like heat, the smell of sunscreen, doing almost everything outdoors, eating things on sticks, walking slowly just because, exerting less energy, the smell of barbeque and long summer nights. I just love it and it literally snuck up on me. I'll tell you why...
My son graduated from 8th grade on the 8th of June.
That may not mean much to many, but all East Coast parents knows that means three weeks less school than usual. I found myself struggling to come up with a proper plan, but eventually did. Three Summer Camps! Basketball Camp, an Arts & Tech based camp and Sleep Away Camp; He'll love that. I hoped. I also coordinated with Sir and he kept him on the weeks in between everything. That part proved to completely change our son's attitude about life altogether. All it took was one soft summer.
We started out in a struggle. Staying up late, but realizing hey! we still have to wake up at around the same time as usual every morning. What the hell and why? Basketball camp (Camp One) was all the way downtown in Chelsea. Okay, I had to take it for what it was worth, at least I didn't have to iron uniforms anymore E V E R and that made it more bearable. So we drove down to Chelsea, with the windows open and the AC on low with an open sunroof. All the while trying not to give in to road rage. Afterall, I still had to drive back up to get to work by 9am and do the same thing all over again at pickup. The reward at the end of the day was ice cream while watching the docked boats and taking it easy on the drive home. That was nice.
Then there was the Dreamyard Summer Camp program (Camp 2). The best thing about this was that my little sister, Chelsea is the Outreach & Community Relations Coordinator.
She was also his counselor. The program was only about five weeks long, but it cost me nothing and my baby got paid for participating. He also learned Photoshop and worked on poetry and photography. It wasn't too far from home, although it was in the Bronx. Therefore, it was a bit of a struggle in the opposite direction, still worth it for a few weeks and in the end we were invited to a beautiful show, displaying all the kids' artwork, poetry and performing arts. It was great and I was amazed. The things that a young mind can do will blow you away entirely. Below is my son, McKyle's poetry.
There was also a young artist named Ja'China De Leon that I had the pleasure of meeting that day. Such a sweet nature and beautiful artwork. I hope she doesn't mind me sharing her with my world...Hopefully one day she will sell something to me. :)
That marked the end of the program and at this point, I tried to will myself to enjoy every split second of the very hot, humid and sometimes damp months of Summer. The days started forming into a steady routine. My son was out of school and camp for weeks now and the days were so much more lazy then. I spent just a little more time alone now that drop off was literally less than five city blocks away and it was to his dad's house. This meant that my worry meter went down low and my focus was more on just work and daily life. Let me tell you friends, it felt good. I couldn't get enough of myself.
I listened to podcasts on the walk to and from the office. This prompted me to start a gratitude journal - which I wrote down the five things that I was grateful for daily.
Miraculously, there were five different things everyday. I missed some days, but I'd like to believe it was because I was living in the moment of M E. I started seeing different things that I never noticed and I started receiving things that I wanted. All I did was be completely grateful and happy for every little thing before, during and after it all happened. I loved my drives alone daily. I lived for how quiet the office was while I was at work. The different summer menus at my favorite little eateries. But mostly, my journal. I carried it in every bag, everyday, everywhere. It made me love everything more. When I drove, I focused on how thick all the rain made all the trees and grass. Everything swayed together in shades. Life is good. I knew it and I will always remember.
Fun things happened too. My niece, Destiny came to visit, I took a few trips to the driving range with my son. Hearing the way the clubs hit the golf balls and watching them fly out towards the huge net and settling just before the water eased my mind. I went on a day trip to the beach with my sister, Tory and our friend, Latoya and the day was so long, salty, calm and necessary. I wish I did it at least one more time.
My building complex had a movie night where everyone laid out on the grass, ordered food and watched Black Panther together while the kids played around us until the sky went dark and everyone got sleepy and neighbors said goodnight. I continued to cook, clean and budget daily. My friend Fran had a Birthday, a BBQ and a baby.
It was very sophisticatedly laid back with a small group of friends. I got to see one of my lady circles and that made me happy.
Jas, Alegra, Fran, Tyra & Sam
A quick thank you to all of my sister circles that keep me sane. Mainly, The Panel & Girl Talk. Your daily chatter helps me stay relevant in social places.
All of my four brothers turned a year older during the season as well as my five year old nephew, Izel.
One got married and we took a trip to Texas to watch Alex wed his love, Tamie.
Four out of the seven siblings stayed in one beautifully comfortable Air b&b together (kids included).
That was fun and not as crowded as it sounds.
I managed to fit two concert experiences in. Both of which I received the tickets for F R E E! Huge thanks to my friend, Rachel for On The Run II tickets to see Queen Bey & Jay-Z perform a spectacular show. I took my sister, Tory.
It was amazing and the energy was spectacular.
Then just a week ago, I went to AfroPunk Brooklyn 2 0 1 8 with my friend, Latoya. Thank you Makala for the tickets.
The experience was nothing short of soothing. Everyone literally came as they were and it was peaceful. I'm including a picture of delicious popsicles and one of my very favorite outfits at the park.
The Summer was filled with so many other little things, eating out, eating in, lounging by the water, going for short walks, visiting friends at their summer/weekend homes, sitting in quite a few parks, eating Mexican Street corn and plenty of ice cream. Two weeks ago, it was time to take McKyle to Sleep Away camp (Camp 3). This was his second Summer doing the sleep away thing. He was excited. When I got back home and it was just me, it felt different. I was used to having him home every night. However, I learned to embrace nothingness on another level and a week went by quicker than I realized it would. Of course he had a great time. The great outdoors is necessary for kids. They need alone time too.
He got to see his old friends and made new ones. Looking at this picture, I notice that only my child would feel comfortable camping in white jeans. My baby.
Needless to say, the season was full and continues to be. It's Labor Day and in two days it's back to school. Let's not forget that we have the Summertime for another twenty days. Don't waste one second of it. For those of you dear friends that I missed while it was hot, I Iook forward to seeing you when it gets cool again. Remain grateful and do it one second at a time.
Please feel free to tell me about your summer in the comments below.
O N E L O V E,
J A S