It's usually about noontime these days when the requests begin. There are gentle pleas and persistent questions that stop just short of nagging (at which point the deal is off). Generally that means I hear a lot of "What needs to be done before we can go for a swim? How can I help?" Clever kids, these ones. Helpful too. And so we do the work that's needed in the moment. Adding mulch to the garden, feeding the animals, stacking wood for next year's fires and on and on.
Early dinner prep gets started, towels have quietly already been gathered next to the bathing suits piled up, and eventually we gather from all our different directions for the journey to our swimming spot. There's always a race to see who can run there the fastest, and who jumps in first. Everyone settles into their comfortable way of being in the water. Some deep out and under, some at the shoreline, some picking daisies, and some on the dock, soaking it all in. Together, all of us.
In my own day, this is a slow moment so much appreciated - watching and loving up this family of mine. I know it is a short window of time in so many ways. A few weeks ago it was far too cold for such things (and some might argue - ahem - that it still is too cold!) and we were all busy in the evenings with our academic year shuffle of classes and groups. In a few weeks, summer camps will begin with someone gone nearly every week here or there, and it will be rare that all seven of us make this trek together. Then of course, the autumn breeze will come and we'll find ourselves not so interested in swimming, and busy with other things. But for right now, for this moment, this is what we do and this is who we are as a family in the evenings...after a long day of work and just before our dinner and bed.
"Mama, can we go swimming later today?"
Yes, my loves. Absolutely, yes.