My children get out of school today for summer break so in my book summer begins today. Some of the children have already got out for summer and many will get out in the upcoming weeks. Monday is Memorial Day which also signifies the beginning of summer and the day that pools open everywhere. Last summer for me didn’t go as planned, my father passed away last June and then my great uncle last August. My family and I had been running back and forth from the hospital between April to June until my dad died. I had taken a spring break vacation with my kids and my parents were so supposed to go along with us but didn’t. Once my father passed a few months later that was my biggest regret I didn’t get to do another family vacation with him and I wished I would have pushed him to go with us last April. I still struggle with that today wishing I would have had more time with him, I’m glad that I do have the memories of the summer vacations we did have together along with other fund memories. Although last summer was hard I would do it again just to see him. The summer went so quick last year for us and then it was time for my children to head back to school and then shortly thereafter my uncle passed. I was angry I had loss two of my loved ones back to back, and had other loved ones who had to be hospitalized last summer as well. I felt me and my children had been cheated out of a summer, we barely got to do anything, I can count the times we got in the water, and we didn’t get to take a summer vacation. This summer we will remember our loved ones at the one year anniversary of their deaths by sharing time with family and friends to honor their memories. And although I don’t know what summer will bring me this year I’m determined to enjoy it. Life can rain on your parade but we have to learn how to dance in the rain. I learned valuable lessons last summer, live life with no regrets, do what you can while you can, take a breather even in the bad times, and no matter what is going on take time to enjoy life. I know many of you have loss loved ones, you may had a bad situation going on as we speak, you may have experienced job loss, divorce, or loss of your home. Even in that take time to enjoy this summer! I know summer can be a time for home projects, kids may still be active in camps or sports, and many of you still have to work. Yes take time to clean out the closets, paint, organize, throw away, etc. Work, take the kids to camp, practice,etc but still enjoy your summer. It’s truly the moments and memories that we create that are important when death and misfortunes come to our door those are the things you’ll remember not the work. I understand everybody has different budgets but there is something out there for everyone to enjoy. Parks are free fun, and also check with your local chamber of commerce and visitor center for things to do in your community. You will be amazed at the fun things to do right in your neighborhood for free and at low cost. If you don’t have children, the summer is a nice time to volunteer at summer camps, get your neighbor’s or loved one’s kids and have fun with them, and maybe you have no family in town adopt your friend’s family, get out the house, no excuses, you will meet people! If you can’t do a vacation try a staycation! Or maybe you can do a vacation and stay less days. Find a closer beach to your home and make it a day trip. There are tons of options out there, concerts, museums, you name it! Check with relatives who stay near a beach and maybe you can visit them, and network. You will find that a lot of people rent their timeshares out or know of affordable places to visits, and some people get certain discounts through their jobs as well. Whatever you do don’t let the summer pass you by. Things have slowed down so use the down time to visit your family and friends, play with your children, get some me time, vacation, take breaks, and do projects. But most of all smell the roses, gaze at the beauty of summer, and bask in it. Think fresh squeezed lemonade, flip flops, ice cream, more sleep, sand, and water! Whoosah!