It's hard to believe that summer is over. The kids started back to school last week and the craziness of our fall schedule has already started. As I reflect back on this summer, I realize how much I enjoyed it. It was busy as usual and it went by way too fast, but it was fun having a less rigid schedule. I always enjoy the fact that the kids are up later (we're all night owls) and we get more hang out time. I like the constant activity of their friends in and out of our house at all hours. It makes me happy that their friends enjoy being at our house and feel at home there. I consider many of them a part of our family. Of course they spend a lot of time at their friends houses as well. I'm proud of the choices they've made in choosing their friends and I'm glad they can feel at home there as well. It's encouraging to be a part of a community where you know your kids are in a good environment when their not at home.
We didn't take a trip this summer since we went on a cruise back in March, but we did do a lot of fun things around town: Zoo, Art Museum, Six Flags, Magic House, Cardinals game, Rams game, MO Botanical Garden, sports camps, church camps, movies, and eating out probably more than we should have. Mandi and I also celebrated our 18th anniversary this summer. It's amazing to look back over 18 years of marriage and see the path you've walked and realize how faithful God has been along the way.
As those that know us well know much of our time revolves around the kids' sports schedules (which is more than fine with me by the way). Sarah played on 2 softball teams this Spring/Summer so we spent a lot of time at the ballpark. One team took 1st place and the other 2nd. I'm very proud of her and all the girls on both teams. She started the season with a knee injury which took forever to heal, but she really gutted it out and played in spite of the pain (of which she seldom complained about). I get the privilege of assistant coaching both teams, which allows us to spend a lot of time together doing something we both love. Caleb and I spent a lot of time at the gym as usual and Marisa came once in a while to play some volleyball.
I guess I enjoyed this summer so much because it reminded me of my summers growing up; hanging out with friends, staying up late, etc. It was fun to watch them enjoy themselves.
With Fall comes trying to coordinate the kids sports schedules, getting into a homework routine, school activities, church activities, etc. Normally, Fall heavily revolves around Caleb's football schedule. Unfortunately, he's continuing to struggle with some injury issues that will prevent him from playing this year. He played last year and also played basketball over the winter in a tremendous amount of pain, receiving multiple injections into his ankle and hip just to try and control the pain. I'm not sure I've ever seen a tougher 15 year old. Ultimately, the pain was getting worse and he had no choice but to decide and take this year off while the doctors provide treatment. I'm extremely proud of his maturity and the way he's handled the situation. You see, football was/is extremely important to him and has been a major part of his life, so this was not an easy decision. However, he's handled it with tremendous maturity and perspective and it's fostered some good discussions about life not always going the way you want it to. It's easy to let our circumstances get us down, but it takes a mature and wise person to find the positives and learn to trust that God has a plan that may be different than what we expected. As Bill Mallonee sings in the song Crescent Moon, "life is coming to grips with what your worth when God says one thing, but your heart says another."
Fall also means volleyball for Marisa. She played in a training league last year for the first time and discovered she really loved it. This will be her first year on a team and she's very excited. So is her dad.
Fall also means Fall softball and the start of basketball for Sarah and I. Since I also get the privilege of coaching her basketball team, August and September are very busy times for me as I prepare for the season. It's a long season with 2 practices and 1-2 games a week from October to March, but I love every minute of it. I've only got 2 more years with these girls before they go to high school and then I'll have to be content to drive my wife crazy watching them from the stands.
Indeed I will miss summer, but I do look forward to the fall weather, watching college and NFL football, the kid's games, etc. I just wish we could skip the winter weather that I know is looming out there. In the meantime, I'll try and enjoy the last few weeks of warm weather and reflect back on a wonderful summer.