Tuesday, June 6, 2017

bucket list

Kid at the playground today: Are you a photographer or something?
Me, while snapping my 67th photo: I'm trying to learn how to be one.
Kid: Oh. Well, I know all about how to take pictures. I'm in third grade.

Sometimes 36 feels very ancient, you guys.

The first official day of summer vacation was...good? I've been looking forward to it for so long that it was inevitably a letdown, but also practically perfect in every way, as Mary Poppins might say. We finalized our summer bucket list last weekend and today decided to go for "try a park you've never been to." We almost never visit the playgrounds attached to schools in town, but we spent a happy hour pretty much all by ourselves today enjoying the perfect combination of shady and sunny, plus new to us while still old school (but not overly rundown). Monkey bars are a current fave, and this place has every combination of climbing jungle gym challenges you can dream up.

Fall was my favorite season for years, but I'm breaking up with it for the sheer romance of long, lazy summer days. Winter in our town can be such a desolate time. We chose to live here - another post on that topic has been brewing for a while - so I hate to complain, but there's so little to do. It's hard to not overdo it once summer rolls around. Some of our bucket list will mean buying tickets or paying admission fees or even a hotel stay here and there, but mostly we're sticking to the joys of cheap and free where we can get it, and if this afternoon is any indication, it doesn't take much to make for a summer filled with amazing memories. We're trying to pace ourselves here at the start of the race, but can you blame us for sprinting out of sheer exhiliration?

I'm (over)sharing our adventures on Instagram under the hashtag #HannaMcSummer - and I'm sure there will be plenty more posts here, too. Thanks for tagging along.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

I think I'll be six now forever and ever

A six year old lives at our house these days. We think, just like in A. A. Milne's poem, that she is as clever as clever.

I've never finished either of the girls' baby books. I will - probably this summer - and they are certainly important to me, but I've been feeling a call to document this age in a way that I haven't felt at earlier stages. I don't know if it's because I'm just not a baby person or because I'm finally in a mental place where these sorts of tasks don't send me into the fetal position, but six feels like a magical time to document and savor.

Just before Lorelei turned six, my favorite podcast suggested a daily haiku project as a happiness boost, the idea being to use it as a centering and reflective exercise or meditation. I seized on the idea as the basis for a year-long love letter and time capsule. I've been jotting down a "haiku" about Lorelei every day (I use that word quite loosely, as I'm following the syllabic structure but absolutely nothing else that fits with the nature of a true haiku) and I'm committing to at least one non-iPhone portrait of her each week. At the end of the year, I'll collect it all as a book for her to keep - a little window into her year of being six, so she might hang onto this feeling forever and ever, after all.

A few days after Lorelei's birthday, a card came in the mail with A. A. Milne's poem inside and a note from my aunt reminding me of my Gram's tradition of sharing that poem on every grandchild's sixth birthday - which made me all the more sure that this was the right project to take on. Below are the daily haikus I've collected so far. Hope to share more with you throughout this year.

5/24 Thrilled to finally
"receive your birthday card" - such
simple joys at six

5/25 Rolling down the block
in new fuchsia rollerskates 
Proud and determined 

5/26 Little scientist
investigate as colors
change before your eyes

5/27 Pool birthday party
Swimming even during cake
Lifeguard for your friends 

5/28 Manatee rider
Up and down you glide along
Brief carousel flight 

5/29 Too cold for Hopkins
but you insist on sprinkler
playtime anyway 

5/30 Hard to go to school
when Grandma is visiting
Countdown to summer 

5/31 Field trip day at last
Strong arms and determined face
Inch by inch you pull

6/1 Cried at lunch again
Haven't done that since the fall
Endings are hard, too 

6/2 Track and Field today
Full of stories, flushed, happy
Traditions begin

6/3 Big pool slide, first time
Your courage is contagious
and your joy is too