Three years ago, in the month of June, I decided to do something a little crazy. A little crazy but very much longed for. It happened at a time when we were coming off a stretch of new house renovations and heading into our first summer season on this farm, with a brand new baby - the fifth no less - in arms, and a husband hobbling (quite well, I might add) after a hip replacement. With all of that going on, I declared June "Family Month". 'Nobody in, nobody out' was kind of the motto. We needed to unite as a family of seven, we needed to root ourselves to this new place we were calling home, and we needed to s l o w d o w n.
That June was without a doubt one of the most beautiful months of my life, and I think everyone here might share that sentiment. Here, with all of us, at home. If you've been around that long, you might even remember that I took time off from this space - turning it over to some generous friends and fellow Mamas for beautiful guest posting. The computer was off. The smartphone was in a dummified state of being off. And we were - quite happily - just the seven of us. Gardening, swimming, reading, and mostly just moving slowly, together. Bliss.
It is true that we try in our everyday to live a slowed down, simplified and peaceful existence. We say no to a lot of wonderful things that just don't fit, we craft our activities and our passions in a delicate balance that keeps family time as a priority. The older our children get, the harder that is to do - each and every year. But we try. Sometimes we fail miserably, sometimes the pendulum swings and we soar, and most of the time we just do the best we can and hope it's enough. Keeping that balance.
But there's something really quite special about giving these family goals their own dedicated time and space and energy. I've kept the tradition up each June since, though we've been a little less strict about the 'nobody in, nobody out' policy - that seemed important that first year but not since. Instead, we've tried to stay put as much as we can, stay together as a family, and give a pass to the things that pull us away from that goal, as lovely as they might be. June nesting, I call it. It's no wonder that June has become my favorite month of the year.
This weekend, while working in my garden, I was feeling a bit melancholic realizing the month was coming to a close. That next week we drop one boy off at summer camp, and another after that, and then she has a trip there, and we've got this going on over here.... the summer in full swing. All good wonderful and important things in the life of the people of this family. But full. It was just as I was thinking of all of those things that I stumbled upon this beauty of a wee little nest, on the ground in front of me. Birch bark, wasp paper nest, pine needles - a tiny little thing so delicately crafted to hold a family, for a while anyway.
As each of my children grow and stretch and reach further away from here in their lives and their days, I am comforted by the reminder that they carry with them these months of June we have shared. And all the other days of the year where we've tried our best to create a sense of place, a sense of family, and a sense of self in relation to those things. This nest of ours - may they carry it with them wherever they go and always find comfort in coming back to it - either in heart or in place. That's my Mama hope as another wonderful month of June comes to a close an an adventurous July begins.