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There are 344 days remaining in the year. Describe what you’d like to be doing on day 211. (Hint: that’s July 30th.)

We usually spend the month of July at our house in St. Andrews, Scotland. It is my favorite place to be. I feel so at home there, that I almost think I must have lived there happily in a previous life. St. Andrews has all the elements that make for a great town: the all-surrounding sea; rocky cliffs; the best university in Scotland (really); cultural activities year-round; sufficient, interesting shopping; a scale that enables visitors and residents to walk almost everywhere; and for Scotland, pretty good summer weather. (No place in Scotland is nice in the winter.)

I’m usually sad when I leave, but I’ll get home by the end of July, and after a month away, I’ll be happy to see my grandchildren, and the three of my own children who leave near us. I miss them while I’m gone, especially because when they were kids, we spent so many happy times in St. Andrews. It’s a second home for them, too. Unfortunately, now that they have families and lives of their own, they don’t come over as often as they did when they were kids and we were paying for it!

It’s always a joyful shock seeing kids after a month, especially when they’re young. They change even in that short period of time. I have a friend with an 7 month-old and I swear that every time she posts a photo of him on Facebook he’s learned a new skill. That’s how it is with kids. My two youngest grandchildren are about 20 months old, and I imagine that when I return from Scotland, they will have learned a host of new words that will surprise and enchant me — maybe even sentences. My five year-old granddaughter may be able to read me a story by then (she enters kindergarten in September), and soon I expect my 12 year-old grandson’s voice will start changing, and he’ll be more of a young man.

No doubt on July 30 we’ll be having a cookout; my husband never misses a chance to use his relatively new gas grill. He now can’t understand why he was so dedicated to sticking with charcoal for so long.

What I know is that Wednesday, July 30, will be here before I know it; life seems to pass even faster the older you get. But, for today, I’ll just try to appreciate the moments. Life has curious bends and twists, so despite my plans and expectations, who knows what July 30 will bring?

For myself, I pray for continued good health, and hope that on July 30, I feel as well and content as I do now.

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