Just like our pond, vegetable garden & flowerbeds, I have been thirsting for the sweet taste of delicious summer rain. Had I not been snoozing so soundly during the apparent storm that pushed through last night, I honestly would have run outside & danced in the droplets! The temperature has been blistering hot in coastal Virginia for the past week. I truly cannot remember the last time it rained. Over the past couple days the heat index has reached over 100 degrees. Deep breathing in this sort of humidity feels the equivalent to drinking large gulps of warm water. The critters around the homestead are feeling the strain too, each a bit more ‘touchy’ than usual. A couple days ago, Fig snatched a chunk of feathers from a turkey’s toosh, the turkeys are bullying the ducks a little more than normal & the deer flies are relentless, munching on me every chance they get. Maybe we’re all just a tad more cranky than usual. However, I’m not one to complain about the heat too much. I consider myself a warm weather gal & I can handle it well enough. I’ve always said, I’d much rather have sweat dripping down my crack than teeth chattering in my skull. Living in Mississippi taught me a thing or two about surviving summer’s swelter. The keys to maintaining life down there in the Deep South: Hair up, bug spray on, cool sips & slow the heck down. I’ve been doing much of the above over the past couple weeks here at the homestead, moving at a snail’s pace. Looks like we have some rain in the forecast for the weekend, so I’ll anxiously be awaiting cloud-covered skies, rolling thunder & torrential downpours. Let it be so… PLEASE. We’ve had the pleasure of spending a week with the Mauer grandparents! They came for a visit & left early this morning to head back to the mitten state, where they just moved into their new home & will begin the process of living out the retirement dream. After so many years of getting up every morning, going to work, juggling the complexities & joys of raising children & making their way through life, how wonderful it is to see them entering into this new stage of calm. Surely they aren’t feeling the “calm” of which I speak just yet as there’s still plenty of unpacking to do, loose ends to tie up & whatnot as they transition from one state (OH) to another (MI) but I know a peaceful, easy feeling is on the horizon for them. The thought of these major life changes makes me so delighted for them. I loved listening to them this week as they made plans for their new home & finalized details regarding the sale of their old, family home. It’s all bittersweet. I love knowing they have moved closer to old friends & family & that they will be embracing a quieter, more simplistic existence. It’s inspiring to watch loved ones transition from one phase of life to another. I don’t think it’s easy – physically or mentally – at any stage to make major transitions. (Read my older blog posts as reference to this truth,) but when I watch folks I love continue to grow & evolve & create newness for themselves at all stages of life, it stirs an emotional response in me & encourages a more positive way of thinking on my part. There’s always room for change, if we are willing to take the necessary steps to make it happen. In other news, our Tealeaf turned 14-years-old over the weekend. We’re so grateful the grandparents were here to help us celebrate. Such a big year of change for all of us & she has handled it all with such an openness & sense of confidence. The teenage years, whew… They are challenging to endure. Now I get to live through them as a parent. It freaks me out a little. But I’m up to the task. I know it will be a roller coaster. It is just that – a roller coaster – some days already. But I know it’s all fleeting. The only thing consistent in this life is CHANGE. I’m so proud of the confidence she exudes, our Tealeaf. She knows what she likes & what she doesn’t. She expresses her opinions freely & she doesn’t worry much about what other’s think – which can be a positive & negative quality at times. I do find satisfaction in knowing that she speaks freely, even if I don’t always love her delivery. Her clothes, hair, newly found interest in make-up – ALL OF IT – has such an artistic vibe. She’s always expanding my views on what it means to be an individual. She’s so independent-minded & unafraid to just be her own montage of awesome. I really admire that about my daughter. I pray she stays that way. I’ll do my best to pick & choose the battles. I’ll make an effort to stop myself from dousing any ‘creative fire’ I see burning within her. It’s easy to do that as a parent, ya know. I want her to grow into her own self & explore her own possibilities & identify her own limitations. Earlier this year, a neighbor/friend told me her son went through a phase during high school when “Snoop Dog” posters adorned the his bedroom walls & it was so very hard for her to just let it be. She has no beef with Snoop, but it just wasn’t her jam – literally. But eventually he found his way back to the sounds of his childhood… The Grateful Dead, the Allman Brothers, the soulful songwriters & mystic jams he grew up on. I like her approach & it’s a good lesson in parenting that goes way beyond just music. Josh & I have decided we’ll just keep playing our tunes, setting the stage of who we are. We’ll serve as the background music, the constant soundtrack of our children’s lives. We’ll watch our kids find themselves, & we’ll let them decorate their own walls of life however they wish. And in some ways (probably not in all ways – but some) they will find their way back & embrace a few of the old, familiar tunes they grew up on. We all do.