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Tales from the Motherhood: ‘Hallelujah,’ summer fun has finally begun

I’m feeling a ton of gratitude, this week. My kids’ summer break has begun (Hallelujah!), the Quarry Beach is open for the season (please, guys, keep playing those sweet Blues Traveler tunes over the P.A. system!), and these sunny, blue-sky mornings of late have seen me singing a happy tune. Quite literally. In fact, if you walk past my house you’re likely to hear me try and trill “Oh, what a beautiful morning!” (And if you stop in and say hi, you’re likely to see a couple of teenagers rolling their eyes, but I digress.)

There’s so much to appreciate at the dawn of each summer day and the dawn of each summer. Here, the lilacs make their show. A bevy of burgeoning and fragrant peonies, once bobbing below our kitchen window, now graces our dining room table.

And, this year, our newly transplanted strawberry plants triumphantly thrive in their new raised bed, which we built just for them, last fall. As of this writing, I’ve eaten a total of exactly six of the ever-ripening berries, during mine and Jake’s daily morning inspections, which we make before finally settling down to revel in the rays of the rising sun.

“Let them get bigger!” a pajama-clad Holly implored from the screen door Wednesday morning. Seems the big red dog is better at heeding directions than his mistress. (Good thing, as strawberries are toxic to dogs.)

“But this one’s huge! And totally red!” I insisted, as I grinned my wicked grin, savored its sweetness, and licked the drippy deliciousness of berry No. 4 from greedy fingers.

Yes, indeed. Patience is a virtue to be dispensed only when absolutely necessary, I decided. And hey, who’s the parent, here?

I love languishing in summer sleep-ins and binging on (thanks to Netflix) a marathon of the “Once Upon a Time” series with the kids. I adore the hum of their happy and relaxed voices and thrill at the prospect of TIME unfurling before us like a lovely stretch of sticky, sweet taffy.

Thursday morning I relished in simply sitting in the warm sun as the dew dried, the birds called, and Holly whizzed past on the sidewalk on her RipStik. The lure from Noah’s fishing pole only landed in my lap once, as he practiced his cast (without a hook, thank you very much), much to the amusement of our neighbor and outdoor cat-friend, Victor (who stalks it while Posey stalks him, from the porch window). A perfect start to a perfect day. How many of these gloriously precious mornings can one mom be afforded? Who knows? But it seems I’ve got ’em in spades, for now.

While rummaging through my nightstand a few days ago, I came across a coupon booklet Holly made and presented to me on Mother’s Day, last year. It includes one for “One whole day of doing whatever you want me to,” a second for doing “the dishes” (that one will have to wait until her broken finger is healed. I’ll guard it with my life.) and a third, which states, “Go on a bike ride and go on a walk with the dog and you.”

I’ll need to be strategic, now that I think about it, with that “one whole day” one. Yes indeed, perhaps I’ll save that one for Labor Day Weekend, when Holly and I can watch the Winona Ryder version of “Little Women” (she’s never seen it, but for some reason she makes a sour face whenever I suggest we watch it) and then bike to the Fox Valley Folk Music Festival in Geneva. Ooh, what a plan.

“Yes! Look what I found!” I yelled, as I jogged down the stairs and announced my good fortune. Nonplussed, Holly continued combing her hair in the bathroom mirror.

“They have an expiration date,” she said, not missing a beat. How do my kids come up with these retorts so quickly? Seriously? An expiration date?

I did her one better, and proceeded to school her on the fact that Illinois statute stipulates that there can be no expiration dates on gift certificates. I’m sure I heard that somewhere.

“So there,” I replied. And then I Googled it. Turns out they’re viable for a minimum of five years from date of issuance. Oh, I think we’re good.

First up, I’m cashing in that bike ride. Bonus? Noah even agreed to come, too.

Off we go. Summer’s finally begun, and I’m not looking back.

• Jennifer DuBose lives in Batavia with her husband, Todd, and their two children, Noah and Holly. Contact her at

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