just before our first monsoon of the season rolled in the other evening, i plopped myself outside on the patio to watch the sun tuck itself over the horizon. the colors drew me in as i’d passed the doorway, demanding my attention the way a saturated color palette stretched as far as one could see would. and so, with dishes still left on the table from dinner, a bunny hutch in need of a clean and a laptop with work still not yet opened for the day, i sat myself down and gazed upward. beatrice and madalena wandered out to the patio and joined me a few minutes later. “you watching sunset, mama?” scooting their bums into my lap and pointing up at the majestic skyline. “it pretty!” “wow! orange!”
cuddling them both and gazing at the view, i still felt a little bit on edge. like, wait. do i have time for this sunset? what’s left on today’s to-do list? and, why can’t my stupid mind shut up and stop feeling frantic for a couple of dang minutes?!
for the last season of my life, as a mama juggling work and kiddos while living in a glorious city that never slept, my mentality for years has been built with a projection of go-go-go and then, go-go-go-some-more. it’s been very beneficial. it’s also been very detrimental. it is taking a lot of time, and will power, to purposefully acknowledge and then embrace a slower and calmer pace these days. a softer itinerary, a shorter to-do list in a quiet neighborhood where interaction with other human beings outside of my family is pretty rare.
i know so much of my current experience has to do with the current pandemic. while it is not impossible, it is trickier to navigate how to throw oneself into a new community to meet, serve, explore, mingle, and love – and do it safely. which is why on a lot of days, life just feels slower. dare i say isolating? sometimes even… lonely?
it’s hard for a girl who likes her control, likes her plans, and doesn’t like change. so, while it’s not surprising to often experience those same old go-go-go feelings, i still ask myself in frustration, “why can’t i shut my mind off and just enjoy a moment of shimmering sun fading from view right now?”
typing that sounds so “woe is me.” that’s not the end messaging i’m trying to articulate, as i know many others who are walking through massive tragedies and trials far greater than me vocalizing my summer has felt lonely and my mind won’t let off the gas pedal. but this summer has been unlike any of my other summers, just as i know yours has been different in countless ways, too. but even with the fun big trips we’d had scheduled and weren’t able to take, with the parties and plans cancelled, with the whimsy adventures we’d normally have embarked on together in between the stroller naps and the redistribution of sunscreen on noses, with all the horrible things going on in the world, beyond the dinners with girlfriends where we’d crowd around a low-lit table for hours after the plates were cleared in fits of laughter and deep conversation – even in spite of all of that, summer has still been full of mystical, magical and unbelievable sunsets.
and so i did the best i could in this moment on the patio, while holding my girls in my lap and admiring the last few minutes of light in the sky. i said to myself – hey- life is wild and this pandemic sucks and you’re a little bit lonely and unsure and yes, you’ve got stuff to do. but right now, let all that go and appreciate THIS. focus on THIS. enjoy THIS. i rubbed beatrice’s legs as she stretched them out over mine, and gave madalena the biggest kiss as she nuzzled her head onto my shoulder. it was a beautiful sunset. a special moment. and a memory i’m thankful i had the chance to create.
i’d love to encourage you to try to catch the sunset tonight, wherever you may be on this earth and wherever you may be in your headspace. maybe you’ve already mastered the calm, the sit-still, the beauty of peering out at a sunset without allowing your mind to carry on at marathon speed. but maybe you’re a little bit like me, and still struggle with all of the unknown swirling around us and not feeling as in control as we once did.
whether in a jam-packed adventurous summer or in a summer that feels very paused or quite horrible, i hope you can catch the next sunset and quietly calm your mind so you can just enjoy. i’m not anyone’s teacher, but let’s all pretend for just a minute that today i’m something along those lines so we can take this homework away for the day? and tonight, together, we successfully complete it.
i am sending you lots of love as summer comes to a close. thank you for the love you have sent this way, all summer long.