Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Summer of our Lives

Fab graphic available as a free postcard download at Frolic
A few weeks ago, on the Saturday night before the first day of school, after our yard emptied of the dozens of friends who had come over for an end-of-summer hot dog and s'mores roast, Lucas emphatically declared it had been the best day of his life.

Then he reconsidered as he started listing all the other best days of his life that summer.

We ended up agreeing that it had been the best summer of his life.

Ah, how that made my heart sing.

The summer, well, late winter and early spring, actually, had started out as possibly the worst time of our lives for Abel and me when his small organization closed down and he was laid off. The first few weeks were horrible. Scary. Filled with anxiety. Dread.

Not only was Abel laid off, I had been a stay-at-home mom since Nathaniel was born 19 mos ago so our weekly income suddenly = $0.

Luckily we had some savings. Luckily Abel qualified for unemployment. Luckily we also qualified for food stamps. Luckily a free lance gig came up for me.

But more than luck, we buckled down. We counted every penny. Literally every penny. It became a personal challenge--and triumph--for me to calculate our grocery bill down to the dollar. To go for days and days and days without spending a dime. We started line drying when our dryer broke. (In February. Brrrrr.) We gratefully accepted gas cards from my parents and when they visited they brought lunch or paid for dinner.

And after I was able to fall asleep instead of laying in bed fretting for hours on end. And after we were able to go a day without questioning, worrying, wondering. After we settled into our poverty. After that?

It did become the best summer ever.

We had a house. A car. Two actually. We had the most amazing, wonderful, happy children on the face of the planet. We were together. And in love.

If there is one thing I am most proud of about our little family of four, it is the abundance of love. Of hugs. Of kisses. Of never-held-back I love yous.

Summer 2011 featured no camps, no beach vacation, no amusement parks.

But it did feature lots and lots of adventures -- parks, museums, s'mores (a very cheap way to entertain friends!), the zoo (free in DC!), back yard camping, cardboard robot making -- adventures of all shapes and sizes but with one common factor: free or very, very inexpensive.

Our yard never looked better! The floor of our laundry room was visible on more than one occasion!

Because there was time. Time together. Time around the house. Time for adventures.

And nearly every day (after I stopped freaking out) I thought to myself, "This, this is the time of our lives." We were poorer than I ever hope to be again. But we were happy. Because we were together. And as hard as it was, especially at first, I think I will always look back at the summer of 2011 as the best summer of my life.

{I'm back at work (er, outside the home!) full-time and Abel's home with the kids but still looking for a job. We are doing okay on what I make + unemployment. Thank goodness for unemployment. But we are hopeful that something will come along for Abel soon. And in the meantime, he's trying to savor his time at home, especially all the time he has with Nathaniel.}

Though I didn't initially write this post with this in mind, I've decided to link up to Elena and her Be Enough 4 Cancer Campaign. Because I think this post really is about our family, our love, our togetherness just being enough.

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!


  1. when Doug got laid off you were the one who told me it was going to be ok. Because you knew. And I'm so glad you wrote this. Because now that Doug is back at work, I wish we made a little more of the time I was home.

  2. beautiful. so sad I missed out on spending more time with my favorite little family this summer, though at least I was able to get my Lucas fix. Love you all and glad that you were able to cherish the time you all had together as hard as it was.

  3. Beautiful post, Aimee. Such a wonderful, honest, and refreshing perspective. Still praying that Abel finds something soon, and that you all continue to be at peace with the situation and value family time together.

  4. Aimee, this is stunning. The abundance of love....what a gift that is. Thinking about you, hoping that Abel finds something....and so thankful that you linked up with JBE! xo


Comments make my day. Thanks!