Summer arrived here in a rather loud fashion last month, bringing the raw energy that comes with the end-of-the school year, daily trips to the pool for swim practice, and the usual first few weeks of anxious adjustment to new rhythms.  After years of pushing through the difficult transitions that accompany my boy and his autism, you’d think I would be used to this reality, but I still find myself feeling blind-sided each year. That said, we all survived those first few weeks of discord and even managed to create a few fond memories along the way!


My girl  would live in the water all summer long if she could.  And it seemed like we ALL lived at the pool for the first 6-weeks during swim team season!  I often call Emma “My Little Mermaid.”  When I ask her what she likes  best about swimming, she declares that she “loves the way it feels to glide through the water!”  I have to say, Emma really does look beautiful gliding through that water and I admire the perseverance that she demonstrates in trying to become a better swimmer.

On any given Monday night, my husband or I could be found poolside, fulfilling our volunteer duties with a timer in our hands.

And, Ben did his best to  be patient  and entertain himself with lots of snacks and good fact books.  He was an especially good sport when rain drenched his bag of books at the end of the very last swim meet.  Especially the notebook of President facts that he compiled over the past several months…

I usually try to plan a few craft projects for us to work-on together throughout each summer. The clay was actually Emma’s idea.  My block of clay had become dry after sitting for too long, unused, so after wrapping it in a moist towel for a day or so, I was happy to see Ben and Emma enjoy making a few things with it, even if their projects ended-up cracking and landed in the trash later.

I plucked this stick-weaving idea off of Pinterest earlier this summer.  Ben and Emma were really into collecting “v-shaped” sticks on our nature walk the morning I told them about this project.  I had planned on the project taking place over a few days, but they could not wait to get started…

I love Ben’s focus here!

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Ben and Emma insisted on carrying this humongous branch back with us that morning…Now, over a month later, it looks like I am the only one interested in finishing the weaving.  A new piece of art for their tree fort!

Amidst the swimming and crafting, Ben participated in a Friendship Skills group.  His final homework assignment was to arrange and carry-out a play date (with a little help on my end).  By the huge grin on his face, I think you can tell it was a success!  My heart fills with joy when I see Ben enjoying the company of his peers…For so long, he only felt safe talking and playing with teenagers and adults.

Lina and Emma have remained best friends since their first days of preschool.  This summer marked the first-time that Lina spent the night at our house.  These girls are quite the entrepreneurs!  They love to make stands to sell just about anything.  Tap water.  Junk from Emma’s drawers.  And this time around, lemonade.

Thanks to our good-spirited neighbors and few passersby, the girls made-out pretty well!

Not one to sit idle, Emma also delights in entertaining us with her many shows.  Awkward gymnastics routines.  Silly-nonsense plays with Ben.    Here, she is holding a puppet show featuring an “Emma” puppet and theater (decorated as a swimming pool, of course) that she made in summer art camp.

And, Ben entertained us with his “Worm Circus!”

For obvious reasons, my art production slows-down quite a bit during the summer.  I did  make it downtown recently, though, to see a few of my earlier creations displayed at the Suntrust gallery in Richmond.

This week, I started on a new piece called “Ben’s Dream.”  I am loving using the collage and paint combination to create the background!  You can expect to see the beginning of this process in a future post, after my family and I return from our annual pilgrimage to the Outer Banks next week.  May we all continue to notice and savor the special memories unique to our summers.