When my 10-year-old daughter wrote “berry picking” on a tiny piece of green scrapbook paper with white cameras all over it three months ago, I knew it had a good chance of being one of my favorite Summer Bucket List activities.
After all, we’ve been berry picking before. It’s not new to our repertoire of things to do. Once a summer, typically in August, we travel to a quaint little orchard to pick raspberries. It’s awesome every time. I knew this outing would be no different.
The kids kept asking WHEN we were going berry picking.
I kept saving it for the last possible moment, the last days of summer. I kept it for the last week of summer. In fact, it was our last Summer Bucket List activity for 2015.
When we arrived, we headed straight to the main building to pick up plastic containers and a wooden basket for gathering and carrying our raspberries. Then we made our way back to the raspberry fields.
There were two fields as far as I could see. In one, two or three retired ladies were chatting and picking raspberries peacefully. I saw no reason to interrupt their Thursday morning adventure, and to be honest, I wanted this to be an intimate experience, so I directed my kids to the other raspberry field where we’d be alone.
There was nothing exciting or grand or particularly noteworthy about our berry picking adventure. But it was peaceful, relaxing, and delightfully wholesome as usual. I wondered why we don’t do this more often.
The kids picked and picked and picked.
Picked and ate a few berries as I meandered.
I took photographs slowly, with purpose and intention, as if my life, my worth, my identity didn’t hinge on my ability to capture this one, beautiful moment in time.
I breathed some more.
Exhaled all the good and bad of the whole summer long.
And thought of the grace I so desperately need to embrace.
By the time we made it through the raspberry field, all three kids’ containers were filled. Well, except the baby’s. She’d hopped in the wagon half-way through and popped those berries in her mouth, one by one.
We slowly made our way back to the car, then back to the main building where we paid for our three containers of raspberries and added two homemade sugar apple doughnuts and a bottle of water to share for good measure.
I found us a nice table for four in the back corner of the orchard’s restaurant. It was lovely. Simple. Quaint. The wholesome I long for.
We broke our two doughnuts in half so we each had a piece. Three of us shared the water. The fourth wanted a Mello Yellow or Diet Coke instead. I calmly told him no. We were keeping it simple. We were staying under budget. If he didn’t want to share water, he’d have to wait to get something until we were home again. I didn’t berate myself for being a “bad mom” for saying no. I didn’t get all worked up. No was the answer and neither of us made it into a big deal.
We oohed and aahed over the goodness of the doughnuts.
And yes, I got a little sentimental with the piano music playing and us being in the corner of that little orchard restaurant on this second-to-last day of our first summer home together full-time, just the four of us. Tears began welling in my eyes. I tried to hide it from the kids. But after a while, they noticed.
“Mom, are you crying?”
“Did you have a good time today?”
“Are you sad this is our last day of summer together?”
“Yes,” I answered.
“The piano music doesn’t help,” noted my 10 year old.
They know me, those kids.
They know I can get stressed and overstimulated, but they also know I can be a sentimental mess over things like this.
We finished our doughnuts, then I brushed the sugar off their shirts.
They fed the goats and sheep. Jumped across hay bales. Popped their heads through a few orchard signs freshly painted for fall apple and pumpkin picking crowds. And just like that, our last Summer Bucket List adventure was over.
Mom Lesson: It’s all good moms. Summer’s been good and bad and everything in between. You’ve got this.
Kid Lesson: Kids thrive in the wholesome simplicity of summer.
This post is part of a summer-long series titled Summer Bucket List. This is my first summer home full-time with our three children. My hope for this series is that it will challenge me to adventure out of my mothering comfort zone, will provide opportunities to live and write simply, practically, beautifully and meaningfully, and will stimulate some some fun ideas for your summer as well! To check out the entire series, click here and you’ll be directed to the introductory post where all the posts are listed and linked for easy reading. Enjoy, friends! And have a blessed summer.