So. That was summer. And it went so well, I stepped away from this space and just enjoyed it.
I don't do that very often. Just enjoy things, that is. Usually I'm thinking I should be doing something else or something better or something more useful. Usually I notice the things that go wrong, rather than the things that go right.
But this summer had something different about it. Eldest's rehab finally started to pay off - we were freer to move through the weeks without being exhausted by therapy and care. Like the old woman in A Squash and A Squeeze, having things tough for a while made normal life seem so much better. The day Eldest set off on her crutches with confidence - that was the day we pushed the cow out of the door.
There was camping - two mothers, four kids, some glasses of wine.
There was climbing.
We made a shadow puppet theatre. We made shadow puppets. And never the twain did meet. Still. At least we made the thing.
We had a student staying with us during the summer; she brought new perspectives, enthusiasm and a torch-bright intellect. She got the children excited about maths and science. To thank her, we filled her full of sugar. It's the Coffee House way.
But all too soon, our holiday planner had run out of days. A new school beckoned. There are changes this year - just one child to walk to primary school, and one to pack off into a taxi in a brand new uniform. It might seem like time to do a bit of mourning for the passing of time.
Except. Those tiny children, fun as they were, can't match these funny, clever young girls with whom I've spent the summer. We still have tantrums, still have fights and fury. But the grown-up giggles, the rolls of the eyes, the willingness to help without wrecking the whole damn place - they're wonderful. It's been a very good summer indeed.