Spring here in Tashkent has been rather uneven. Of course, spring is a season of uneven weather - never does the weather slowly warm up in a perfectly rational climb of increasing daily temperatures. But this spring has been annoyingly uneven for people who want to swim in their pool, especially when one of those people is me.
But, as I remind Kathleen every time she complains about yet another cloudy, rainy Saturday followed by a clear, sunny Sunday (and there have been a lot), soon enough it will be clear, sunny, and hot every single day. For four months straight. So we don't need to rush the advent of summer that much.
But this past Monday it was one of those clear, sunny, hot days. Our pool heater has proven to be a little wimpier than I'd like and the water hasn't spent much time above the 85 degree mark - my bare minimum temperature for swimming. But on Monday the weather was perfect for swimming - 93 degree air temperature and 85 degree water temperature.
I had some yard work to do that afternoon, and spend a couple of hours sweating while watching the children splash in the pool, asking me to come swim with them. Finally, I was finished and rushed to put my own swimsuit on. It was close enough to 5:00 that I didn't feel bad asking Brandon to come join us.
Usually I start cooking dinner at 5, but I kept revising my dinner plans as we kept playing. We started with swimming, followed by fruit tag, then a rousing game of keep away (parents vs. children), after that a very uneven game of chicken (anyone sitting on Brandon's shoulders was guaranteed a victory), and finished the evening with cannon ball contests (I won).
By the time we finished, dinner time had come and gone and it was 7:30. Brandon and I unanimously declared that we had just had our activity portion of Family Home Evening. I then made up a new meal - dinnssert - where we combined dinner and dessert together in the meal of waffles with fresh strawberries and chocolate sauce. Everyone approved.
We rounded out our Family Home Evening program with a discussion of goals while eating waffles, cleaned up the meal, and then sent everyone off to bed. They all fell asleep quickly and slept soundly, one of the wonderful effects of a long afternoon in the pool.
Usually I'm a very scheduled person; the schedule works for me and I can loosely contain the chaos that is seven children. Everything is neatly packed in, all of the pieces having found their place over the years of trial and error. From the time I wake up in the morning until the children go to bed in the evening, life proceeds at its measured pace. It has to, or the chaos will slip its bounds and explode the household into a noisy, crazy, stressful mess.
But it was nice to spend an evening in the pool instead of marching to the usual schedule. I was happy to break my own rules to play with the children, taunting them for their inability to catch the ball as it sailed over their heads (but not for much longer). I enjoyed having children that could wait a little while longer for dinner without dissolving into tears or fights as we enjoyed a perfect evening together. I hope they'll remember that evening as one of the times where - despite the world outside our gate - everything inside the gate was perfect and everyone was happy together. When they think of their childhood, that happy time will hold a special glow. A time when we were all together, enjoying being a family of people who love each other and love being together. I know I will.