Summer is my favorite season of the year, maybe because I was born in July or maybe because the longer day and warm temperature put me in the mood to embrace nature.

This has been an action packed and fun-filled summer so far. For me, it started with Michelle’s prom and Jane’s coming home on the same day, then Michelle’s graduation, immediately followed by her18th birthday. We had a blast in Cancun, returning home to unusually cool early June weather in Chicago. Jane’s 20th celebration called for another family outing that took us across three states in one day. My first official book signing on my birthday made both the day and the season endearing.

It was a big disappointment that Jane’s summer internship didn’t pan out. But my friend Natalia graciously offered Jane intern projects at her own firm Kabbe Law Group. If Jane was having a good summer before she got the job, she’s been having a better one afterwards. She gets up at 7:30 am to get ready for work, going through my closet to find business attires. Honestly she looks more professional than I and most of the people in my office building.

Jake has made a couple of new friends this summer, including Jim (Jane’s boyfriend). He plays Nerf guns, computer games with Jim and loved going bowling and Sky High jumping with Jim and Jane. It has been wonderful to see another positive male influence in Jake’s life.

Life is never perfect. There are glitches such as the swimsuit loss dispute and the nightmare of not knowing where Jake was. But we talked, laughed about it and moved on. The biggest challenge of this season has been my job. The stress is mounting. It is no longer a rare occasion that I end the workday discouraged, confused and frustrated. Again I’ve found renewed strength and comfort in writing. If the day turns out really awful, I sometimes have to switch from an intimate topic to a more neutral and factual one to write about. It still redirects my attention to the positive aspect of life instead of dwelling on the problems and challenges. The tough weekdays have only amplified my desire to make the weekends as enjoyable and relaxing as possible because weekends belong to me and my family.

After Jake was born, our family was divided into two teams: the daddy, mommy and Jake team and the Jane and Michelle team. This summer we have merged the two into one. It turns out that we are able to enjoy family time with a variety of activities: picking blueberries, sunning at the beach, sightseeing, swimming with the dolphins, singing or chatting in the car.

Now that the summer is coming to an end, the girls are leaving for college together in less than two weeks. I am going to miss the laughter around the dinner table, Michelle’s unique sense of humor and her “Get Rich Fast” savings jar, Jane’s funny improvised Chinese and British accent as well as having Jane around to do grocery shopping and run errands for me. I also know it will be extremely difficult to find babysitters as wonderful as Jake’s very own sister. All of these will make their home coming at Thanksgiving and Christmas more special.

If spring symbolizes life, summer fun, winter togetherness of the family, then autumn is a season of change with the leaves turning colors and animals starting their long-distance migration. While I am not looking forward to the half-empty nest, I am anticipating a new season of change and fresh promises.