Bare feet. Nothing is more symbolic of the shedding of institutional hierarchy than the freedom to let your feet live as nature intended. As a child one of the first things I did, after that oh-so-amazing of days called the last day of school was put my shoes away. By the end of the summer, I desired my feet to be tough enough to walk across gravel. Shoes were only worn in restaurants because…NO shoes, NO shirts, NO service. And I wore shoes when I played softball because…being stepped on with cleats wasn’t desirable.
For the past two summers, besides being a mom and working a nurse’s schedule, I have been in school finishing my second Bachelor’s degree (BSN). This summer, I finally decided to listen to the sighs, and the dreaded feeling in the pit of my stomach when I thought of spending ALL my free time writing papers while missing out on family time. I timidly sent an email to my academic advisor about…” maybe taking the summer off.” Expecting some sort of retort about meeting your life goals, she gave me a Birthday and Christmas present wrapped together, “Of course, you can take the summer off.”
So now with time off from school, bare feet are forefront in my mind. As an adult running around toughening my feet up isn’t really that appealing. I happen to like shoes. So I am thinking more about ways to reclaim that feeling of summer freedom.
Here are Ten ways I am going to try to Release the Feet:
Drink my Morning Coffee and Stare Out the Window: When I am NOT rushing out the door for a 12-hour shift, I am going to grind coffee beans and brew my coffee in my Italian Press or in my coffee Aeropress. Instant isn’t always best. Instead of pulling up Facebook, I will stare out the window and let the creative juices flow. The grand plan is to do this before the kids get up, now that they are 8 and 12…this just might work. Now, how to train the dog?
Adopt the Custom of La Passeggiata: I wish I could say I knew about this from my travels to Italy. But, I am a heavy PBS watcher, especially their travel shows (geeky right? don’t tell). My first thoughts were…”We must do this!” Are you ready for it! Passeggiata is the custom of the evening stroll through the historical center of town or along the beach. Alright, this will have to be adapted a bit for the Midwest. Here in Rochester, we have Thursdays on First and Third. This works! Otherwise, My plan is to adopt a nightly ritual of walking on the bike trail nearby. Dog, my kids with their roller blades or rip sticks. I may even hold my husband’s hand. I could wear lipstick.
Swim with my Kids: This means buying a bathing suit I will wear in public. As a kid, summer was about water and splashing around. This summer instead of procrastinating and never getting around to purchasing one. I went on-line and ordered a suit I will put on and get in the water. NO three-way mirrors to brave.
Spend the Summer with the Annes: With my freedom from textbooks, I am most excited about pleasure reading…what a novel concept. As I listed out books I wanted to read I noticed a theme…the author’s first names were Anne (or Anthony).
Here are three of my summer picks:
Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy by Anne Lamott
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Enjoy Your Garden: My Grandmother Julia planned a beautiful garden every year. She spent the cold winter methodically plotting it out. My sister Julie followed in her footsteps and someday I may do this. This isn’t the year. Besides the two flower containers and the cucumbers, my kids will plant, I plan to enjoy your garden. All you incredible gardeners out there…thank you, your efforts will not go unnoticed.
Take Time for Spiritual Moments: I am always looking for ways to listen and connect with God. This summer of freedom I am going to work through, Praying with the Body: Bringing the Psalms to Life, by Roy DeLeon. The hope is the movement will help focus my brain and open my heart. Look for me in church…I’ll be the one in the back swinging out my arms with controlled breathing trying not to catch the Pastor’s eye.
Visit Farmers Markets: Every year I plan to reap the benefits of eating locally grown produce. The Post-Bulletin has published a complete list of Local Farmer’s Markets for Southern Minnesota. Local Farmer’s Markets for Southern Minnesota. This year…No excuses. Lush heirloom tomatoes here I come.
Make Granita: Back to Italy again. (Some day I’ll go.) This iced dessert first originated in Sicily but I’ve been told can be found all over Itay. If you have never heard of Granita it is incredibly refreshing, easy to make, (no machine needed) and…healthier than ice cream. Fresh Strawberry Granita is my favorite. Feel free to decrease the sugar in the recipe, the natural sweetness of the berries still shines through.
Find the Perfect Pair of Sandals and Wear Caftans: Appropriate attire can’t be ignored when it comes to carefree living. So these days I am searching for the perfect pair of sandals (for when shoes are necessary) and ordering caftans. Caftans are not just for the beach. Lovely flowing fabric…they are really just fancy muumuus. The perfect morning wear for drinking coffee and staring out the window.
As busy moms…stress can be our constant. I hope you can find your own ways to Release the Feet this summer.