We had a sacred summer solstice ceremony last night as a family and that is a packed statement!
What if I told you that right before our impromptu dance party by the campfire we were all irritated with each other?
It felt like 100 degrees outside and I had suggested a fire like the Bonfires of St. John and then, of course, fire being symbolic of sun. Plus gathering around the campfire is something that I LOVE!
What if I told you that I was super irritated because after being gone for over 6 hours with the children, taking them to lessons, practices, etc., I had asked my husband to be in charge of creating the fire and cooking the bread over the fire because, he is an Eagle Scout, after all. ;)
What if I told you that when we returned home the fire was merely glowing coals….okay to cook bread, but not hot dogs (which need a flame) and certainly not as fun to gather around.
What if I told you that there were ticks and mosquitoes galore and hardly any of the stuff had been brought to the fire from the house that we needed, the bread was burning because of the way my husband was cooking it and I was irritated that I felt like I had to step in and "fix" it all.
You know the story, right? Yeah, I'm pretty sure you do.
It might sound familiar. So, as our dog was consuming all of the food falling off the sticks, we all became more agitate and couldn't think straight because it was so hot.
I offered an “out.”
(above-our dog...exhausted after our big night and all those vegetarian and regular hot dogs!)
I reassessed and thought this isn't going well. We are all really hungry.
It was close to 9pm by then and none of us had eaten dinner. We were all excited about the cheese and wiener crescents and the apple pies we were going to cook over the fire.
I had made homemade applesauce earlier that day in preparation. Nothing was going fast enough or well enough for any of us.
My husband decided to get the flame going again on the fire and we just decided in that moment to continue on. Even though we knew we had an alternative, we had all weighed in and decided that we weren't giving up on this celebration.
My son went inside for a moment and came back with a speaker with the song Old Town Road playing.
Since I am literally unable to contain myself when there's even a drum beat being played, I started dancing. My son joined me and then my daughter jumped in. My husband picked up the phone and caught a minute or so of it on camera. That is what you watched at the beginning of the blog.
Sweaty, defeated, disappointed, irritated, eaten by bugs, hungry AND YET the spirit can still move us in that space! After that, the energy shifted and the mood lifted.
After the food was cooked, minus the dessert because we decided to do that another day, I made a suggestion.
The year our family completed the building and painting of our tree house in our woods, we spent the evening of that summer solstice on the deck of our tree house.
It was so special, I proposed we finish out the evening there. Hopefully we would once again catch some glimpses of the fox, skunks, the raccoons and other critters that come out at night around where we live. Maybe our dog wouldn’t get sprayed by the baby skunk this time!
We played some John Denver and ended the evening with a rousing rendition of and sing along to John Denver’s Calypso.
Being up there in the treetops, on that deck with the rope we wove, we felt like we were actually out there on the ocean, maybe on Calypso— the wind in our faces. We all knew that this was a wonderful place to turn in for the evening as the sun set on the longest day of the year.
Maybe campfires in your woods are not a possibility. Maybe there are people in your family that don’t prefer the insects. Maybe none of you want to brave the heat.
May I offer some possible alternatives?
Perhaps you could step outside for a moment after dark and catch a glimpse of some fireflies or even from your window? My almost 13-year-old and his buddy were out catching and releasing some last night…warmed my heart that they still see the magic in these incredible flying, glowing beetles….do you?
You could also stay inside and enjoy the dancing flame a candle, gathering around it to share one thing everyone in the family hopes to do this summer- explore, discover…a new adventure, perhaps?
Does anyone in your family like to bake? You could try baking some sun bread to celebrate this day. Here is a photo from one of the years we made sun bread. Check out the book by Elisa Kleven called Sun Bread on Weave Sunshine's February booklist for a recipe and related material.
(a bit sunburned, apparently, but fun either way!)
Can you snuggle your little ones on your lap and read a book about the longest day of the year or summer in general? Check out the summer months of the Weave Sunshine Booklists for plenty of options in this arena!
Can you sing a song about the Golden Sun or Mr. Sun? For a WAY BACK flashback, check out Raffi leading his rendition of this song "live".
You know, in your heart, what is going to work best for your family.
The goal here is flow, not resistance. When you do come up against resistance, that is a glorious opportunity for you to step back.
Be in observation and witness mode and from a higher or more objective level, observe what's going on with everybody's energy moods, etc.
From there, you can decide to offer them that “out.” Offer yourself that “out.”
Let’s not be stubborn as that’s not fun for anyone, including you.
It doesn't have to be perfect. I have to learn this over and over again, especially around celebrations.
I actually find that most days there's something somewhere in this wonderful world of ours that people are celebrating.
All our years of homeschooling, I made it a point to really connect with other cultures and therefore their practices, which meant there was always a sacred ceremony—always something to celebrate. Doing it at the level I insisted on doing it, however, honestly burned me out.
May I suggest just asking your children what would be special to them as an alternative?
It’s usually a LOT less than you have planned in that “perfect parent” brain of yours!
Maybe they just want popsicles and that's how you celebrate the longest day of the year.
Maybe you go for a family bike ride. Maybe you watch the sun go down together.
Perhaps you allow or encourage your children to bring in what they find or gather this week, and let this be the beginning of your summer nature table.
Don't make it hard. Don't make it complicated and certainly don't try to make it perfect.
I've been there. It's not fun for anyone. Maybe you get a good picture of this “perfection,” but that's all you get. And honestly, what good is a photo when your body and spirit just remembers how stressful it was to get the children dressed in those clothes or have everybody strategically placed for the picture?
Getting everybody to cooperate, stop shoving each other and arguing to have that "perfect" moment…maybe it’s worth it for you. It hasn’t been for me.
Nope—not me….I’m going to go with the flow and celebrate as I go.