Now that summer is finally in full swing up here in Northern Michigan the days are long and warm, the festivals have started, all the restaurants have opened up their decks and weddings are happening every weekend. The bay still hasn’t realized it’s summer yet though, only the bravest or the smallest people think it’s warm enough to swim.

It’s the season for bike rides, ice cream, fireworks, and watermelon. For bonfires, and sunscreen.

It’s also the season where everything feels rushed but everyone is still posting slow dreamy pictures of wine on the beach or watching the sunset, how much of those restful pictures have too much rush and impatience? Too much staging to look so perfect. How much effort did it actually take you to get to the beach for that perfect picture? When we try to make those moments seem like our lifestyle who are we convincing? Our followers? Ourselves? When we try to cram everything fun into a few months of summer how much of it is actually fun? When we or our kids are too tired we argue and push. I don’t want another summer that feels like that.

What are the few things that if they changed would actually make summer restful and fun? For us, that looks like playing outside or at a park in the morning and a rest time for all of us in the afternoon, even though my children assure me they don’t need one, I know better. Bedtime will be late because the sun shines longer. That also means maybe waiting to do something “fun” until I have more help to actually make it fun. Like waiting until my husband is home, or asking a friend to go with. That means making a smoothie stop so we don’t all fall apart on our busier days. Or reading a short book for fun instead of the endless emails and blogs that never stop coming. Meditating instead of scrolling.

If growth comes from a restful nonjudgmental heart, when we’re not forcing it impatiently to be better,  that has to be a choice in our daily lives, in the little things we make room for or should say no too.

I’m trying to make space for healthy growth this summer. Last night, instead of going out or having hotdogs again for dinner, we stayed home and made time for a well prepared,  nourishing meal and a family night.

It’s in the little choices that make for restful or busy days that turn into restful or busy summers.

Cheers to a summer that is as peaceful as it looks on our instagrams.

Samantha Hendrickson