Really, the dog days of summer are said to be between the dates of July 3 and August 11, but that is only if I decide to be precise about things. Which, I most usually am not. A little literary license keeps things much more interesting. During ancient times, it was believed that the constellation Sirius(the dog) was brightest in the sky during these dates, therefore joining with the sun in heating up the earth, hence the dog days. But since we have all been experiencing some extremely steamy days recently, I decided to describe this most recent set of memories as our dog days of summer. And since the photo above is of our very majestic dog, Micah, watching attentively over the shoreline below our home, for me, these are the dog days of summer.
Our family is quite big on hugging. Yes, we are all huggers. If you meet one of us for the first time, chances are you are going to receive a hug because that is the way that we roll. I certainly did not grow up in a family of huggers, but it was something that came naturally to me as I ventured out into the world on my own. It feels good to hug. It feel good to be hugged. Embracing another person allows us to connect on a level that waving and saying hello or good-bye cannot achieve. Lord knows the world can be a cold and lonely place these days, so I say HUG AWAY and if I am ever lucky enough to meet you, feel free to give me a hug. I am absolutely positive that there is a study out there somewhere that proves that hugging can increase your life span by seven years.(I just made that up but somehow I am sure that it is true!) I recently decided that capturing photographs of people hugging is a very good and sneaky way to discern their heartfelt feelings for one another.
Witnessing how they hug on one another makes this momma's heart swell.
Even when they are posing for me, the genuine love that they feel for each other shines through the camera lens.
Mark is so lucky to have four daughters who dote on him more and more with each passing year. They are so lucky to have a father who loves them so dearly. I am lucky to have them all. Ah, this family we have created is all I really need in this world. Well, I would not complain about also having an entire fridge filled with ice-cold Mexican Coca-Cola bottles, but maybe I ask for too much.
With summertime comes three birthdays, Angel Daughter Number One(thank you, Mark! I cannot tell you how often I confuse my children by name, let alone, number) turned twenty-four. And I turned...Well, we have already discussed that. Tomorrow would have been my little brother's forty-fifth birthday. 45. He will be forever young in our hearts and in our minds. He was forty-one when he died. I will definitely blast a few Springsteen songs for him just to see if I can still feel him close. It would make me very happy to think that Rob might be partying with Clarence somewhere. The Big Man, The Master of disaster, The Minister of Soul, The King of the World...The spirit of the E-Street Band. Clarence Clemons' passing a couple of weeks ago, also broke our hearts. So thinking that my brother and Clarence might be tripping the light fantastic creates a huge lump in my throat. My brother was a huge Springsteen fan and so are we. It is a part of our history. A part of who we were. A part of who I now am and will always be. Always...
Summertime also brings with it the beautiful House Finches who always seem to nest in the same places every year. How is it that they know to return to a place that has been secure for them in the past. In some other homes, the front door would be an extremely precarious spot to build a nest. In our home, the nest rests securely between our wreath and the glass on our door. AD1 is bravely climbing the later for her vertically challenged momma to see if she is able to spot any eggs in the nest. Each year I place a sign outside saying that there are nesting birds on our door. I duct tape the door shut and nobody is allowed to open it. The sign tells visitors to come to our side door and most people do listen. The thought of that makes me almost as misty as the Finches who return every year to raise their babies. Human Beings can be painfully kind.
This summer, we also got to meet sweet Scarlett. Scarlett is the granddaughter of my oldest friend, Donna, who I have known since we were twelve. Donna's Daughter, Jessica, and her adorable husband stopped by on their way to San Diego so that we could finally meet their gorgeous baby.
We all attended their wedding, last year. Scarlett is what is known as a "honeymoon baby". What a fantastic souvenir Jessica and Brock returned home with! They make such adorable parents.
Angel Daughter Number Four decided that pink would be the color of the summer. Maybe not the entire summer because her hair is now blonde, but much of July. Not exactly sure what colors are left for her to try but I am sure that she will come up with something. I cannot complain. AD4 is such a wonderful, responsible, and very mature-for-a-seventeen year old child(Believe me, after having made it through "17" three times before, I could not ask for more). Her loving and compassionate nature make this momma proud down to the very core.
A little bit more Scarlett.
The Fourth of July was a fun day around beach central. Our home is fairly close to Camp Pendleton which makes our area very proud of the young men and women who choose to serve our country. Encountering these wonderful individuals on a regular basis makes me very proud to be an American. Mark and I make it a policy to thank each and every individual who we come across wearing a uniform throughout the course of our days. It never ceases to bring a smile of pride to their faces and a bit of a bounce to their steps.
Angel Daughter Number Three and her boyfriend, Jacob, invited a couple of their friends to join us for the weekend. We made a fire and they made s'mores while the fireworks exploded in the distance. Not a better seat in the house.
This was one of my favorite parts of the evening. Fireworks cascaded down from the pier and lit up the water in such a fantastic display. Look at all of the folks down in the water! Not sure that I would be brave enough to watch the show from their vantage point, but it must have been quite a perspective.
The next day, I spotted the boys doing what kids seem to do no matter where they are, fiddling with their phones. Not exactly sure what we did before the invention of cellphone!
The dog days of summer also brought us together for a little shopping. Can you guess which Angel Daughters these are? I know that one is pretty easy to discern.
I have heard that the next week will bring back milder temperatures here in Southern California. I hope that wherever you are, the same will be true for you. I prefer cool ocean breezes to being able to fry an egg on the sidewalk!
Since I began this with one of our dogs, I will wrap up the month of July with two of our cats. Yes, they have enormous ears and yes, their coats are different from that of a domestic cat. They are Cornish Rexes and in many ways, they are much more dog-like that cat.
Being that we are only going on to the end of July, it seems as though there is a lot more summer left to enjoy(depending on where you live). According to astrological folklore, there are even two more weeks left to the dog days of summer(just hopefully not the extreme heat). I wish for you celebrations and fireworks, and if not fireworks, then definitely shooting stars. I wish you sun-filled days that never seem to end, but blend down into the night. I wish you bird nests and s'mores and babies, if you are lucky enough to be able to find one that you can hold for a while. I wish you family who you like spending time with, friends who are family if you do not, and maybe a Mexican Coke or two. But most of all, I wish you hugs. Lots and lots of hugs. Because in my mind, there is nothing quite as validating, quite as life-affirming, quite as energizing as an honestly gifted and well-received hug to remind us of how truly important we are in the lives of one another.
So much love.