This summer we spent seven weeks away. We travelled up and down the east coast in our trusty Loser Cruiser minivan. We spent 5.5 weeks in South Carolina, a week in New Hampshire, a weekend in mid-Pennsylvania for our Haiti Reunion, and logged many hours on the road. We spent one night at home in early August — 19 hours to be precise — unpacking from SC and re-packing for NH. We had a few fun stops along the way (including a fun overnight in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor which involved a ride for Braydon and the bambinos in a dragon boat!), loads of car-trip-snacks, and a lot of time to think and reflect on life in the fast lane.
Braydon and I are so lucky to have careers which are, generally, at least in the summer (the ‘slow’ point of the academic year and the ‘slow’ point of the business year), very mobile. For a few weeks in summer we can manage to swing it to work from pretty much wherever we are. With the exception of one work trip that Braydon could not avoid (he had to go to NYC for some meetings while we were in New Hampshire), we were able to work remotely. We give thanks and praise to the inventors of the internet, the iPad, the iPhone, the laptop, and the world of technology that made our summer possible!
Last year I had several low points where I truly questioned our decision to sell our house, give away most of our earthly belongings, and move our family of five into an 800-square-foot apartment in a dorm on campus. Yes, it was a pretty intense transition and shift in lifestyle. But this summer, walking on the beach with my three bambinos, looking for shells and counting pelicans, I thought to myself about a hundred million times, “It was all worth it.” I’d do it all again just to be able to have this summer. And we’ll do it again this year knowing that we have the pay-off of the next summer. Don’t get me wrong: we love living on campus, and there are many great aspects to it way above and beyond the summer perk. But there are sacrifices we’ve made and tough decisions we’ve had to make and risks we’ve had to take in order to live the life we’re currently living. We’re also very, very lucky to have had incredible opportunities available to us.
It was the best summer of my life. For sure– we had our meltdowns, and rip-roaring fights, and low points, and times when we were about to tear our hair out in frustration with each other and with the constant stream of annoyances and challenges that life throws at all of us. Still, the sunny days outweighed the rainy ones. And I wouldn’t trade this summer for the world.
Now we’ve snapped back to reality. We’re home. And our reality is not all that bad. We just hit our one-year anniversary of moving to Lehigh as a Faculty in Residence Family. Students are moving onto campus, with all their energy and enthusiasm and late-night-thumping-bass-music-blaring. We’ve got a pretty good thing going here, I’m not afraid to admit it.
A new school year is upon us. I’m drowning in ‘To Do’ lists and I feel like I’ve got a 10-ton weight on my shoulders when I think of all that has to happen to transition us into the year, establish our rhythms, and get us back on track with regular life. But lodged deep in my psyche is the 7 weeks of summer, 2013. And I’m counting on that to even out some of the rough patches in the hours, days, weeks, and months to come.