Today is Wednesday, and on Wednesdays in the summer we do something different at work. Instead of running our usual classroom sessions we meet at a shaded playground, a block away from a gorgeous city park. We play at the playground, eat snacks, do arts and crafts, and then walk to the park with the toddlers to splash in a giant fountain. My hubby volunteered (or perhaps it would be more accurate to say I volunteered him, which is what actually happened) to run the arts and crafts session each week, keeping his art teaching skills sharp over the summer, and of course he brings our boy, so my whole family comes to work with me on Wednesdays.
I arrive first after spending an hour preparing in my office, and my husband and son, the other teachers, and the families we work with wander in over the next half hour or so. Each week I park my car and then unpack: my purse, snacks, craft supplies, attendance sheets, and anything else I may have packed for the day. I spread them out around me on a set of cement stairs, sit down, and wait for everyone else to arrive. It's almost 10am by that time, but the neighborhood is still quiet and there are always birds chirping. Every week I sit and listen to birdsong, sipping from my water bottle or iced half-caf coffee, sweet with milk and sugar.
Today I marveled at the fact that this is my work. It's the very thing I would choose to do if I weren't at work, and how often do you get to say that? My season of discontent with my job has passed, and I'm back to loving it. I supposed work is like marriage in that way: seasons of deep joy and satisfaction and those we grit our teeth through and wait for them to pass. I've been lucky in both marriage and work in that the discontent usually passes quickly, and even when I'm angry I'm also aware that it isn't ever so serious as I'm making it out to be. I guess we need to get angry sometimes, if only to think about things in a different way.
Our dining room is a brand new place. Still not complete, but close enough that we can get a sense of the finished room while sitting in there now. I've never been a huge fan of formal dining rooms. They look beautiful in magazines and even in other people's homes, but they always seem to end up as a paperwork storage center in mine. We've been in this house two years this fall, and despite repeated efforts on my part to organize the room in a way that works for our family, it always ends up neglected except to pass through and drop our things on the various surfaces I've painstakingly arranged. I think I may have finally solved the problem.
We bought a small, pub table that fits four chairs, and is the perfect height for my son's high chair. We put it against the large wall of windows so that it fits seating for just the three of us, and then put an extra chair along each wall on either side of the windows. This arrangement, along with the smaller table size, leaves enough room for a black leather futon on one side of the room and a computer desk on the other. Now the room isn't just for eating, it's for relaxing and working on the computer as well. I'm hoping the variety of uses will draw us into the room more often, and so far it seems to be working.
We hung the giant chalkboard we got from freecycle, and used it to write our weekly dinner menu when we planned meals before grocery shopping. The farmer's market was overflowing with ripe tomatoes and peaches last Saturday, and so we indulged in both and my husband made and canned three gallons of salsa this week, half of them a peach salsa that I would be happy to eat every day for the rest of my life.
Every evening is a meal cooked on the grill and eaten on the deck, or a playground well-used and a toddler wiped out, or a park to explore: trails or creeks for hiking, or maybe a trip to the beach with sandwiches tossed in a cooler for supper. It's the definition of what summer should be. Before I had children I was restless. I constantly wanted to do new things, go new places, start myself over every few months or years, build up new lives in new places just for the fun of it. I'm so glad I did it then, because now this is brand new too. Staying in one city, owning a house, getting to know a place inside and out, making a home. It's a whole new pace, but no less of an adventure.
And soon my husband will go back to work, and I'll go back to dropping my boy at his sitter's every morning and teaching yoga classes two evenings a week, and we'll be busy with the hustle-bustle of being teachers in the fall. And then we'll be a family of four, and won't that be a way to make everything brand new again? So the ebb and flow will continue, and the seasons will pass, and maybe someday this life will seem same-old, same-old, and I'll be pining for a strange place in which to shed myself and reinvent our lives all over again.
For now though? Same old, same old. And ever so content with it.