Around here, August became so busy and chaotic that I felt the month couldn’t end fast enough. While other people were talking about the last things they wanted to squeeze in before school began, I was trying to finish up the details for another run of the Alphabet Forest at the Minnesota State Fair. The plan was for my husband to take the time off work and hang out with the boys from the end of August through Labor Day. Instead, he spent the 12 days of the fair gritting through the pain of shingles in his eye. So the boys were tasked with lunch preparation and clean up most days, and making sure their daddy got his eye drops and other medication on time. They rose to the occasion.
Then, I asked them to “volunteer” at the Alphabet Forest on the last day, when we were so short of help. They showed up around noon on Labor Day, donned red aprons, and got to work. The 11-year-old helped with the spinning wheel and the 13-year-old, who requested no photo be taken, helped kids make yarn necklaces with their names. They were good sports – one noted that they were indeed laboring that day.
After additional help arrived at the Alphabet Forest, I relieved them of their responsibilities and we set out in search of veggie fries and mini donuts. I also offered a ride on the giant Ferris wheel. They seemed indifferent, so we walked to the car instead. The younger one and I got our hands stamped, but teen son wasn’t interested in returning later.
Two of us did, and found there wasn’t much of a line for that giant Ferris wheel. So we were in and out of the fair in about an hour that evening. (It helps to have an employee parking spot.) The view from 150 feet in the air was splendid. We could see both downtowns and noted how many trees we have in the Twin Cities.
The next evening I got some one-on-one time with my older son. While the younger one was at soccer practice, the two of us strolled around Lake Phalen Regional Park. It was a beautiful evening, with just the slightest hint of coolness in the air, and so I did end the summer with one of the things I treasure most – some quality time with each son.
I am grateful for the calm moments I was able to claim amid the chaotic last days of summer. I’ll also note that I was surprised both of our boys made a point of articulating their appreciation for all I do around the house (and that they’re glad that I’m back at it.)