Post image for The summer after I graduated.

The summer after I graduated.

by Lauren | Celiac Teen on September 14, 2011

It’s been one of those summers not to be forgotten. Magic days spent with best friends. Loving hours spent with family. Love, in every corner. Days spent celebrating now, celebrating this moment. I’ve also been trying to capture it. My hand has been glued to my camera more than ever this summer. At the same time, I haven’t let it stop me from living. Occasionally a friend will take the camera, or we’ll do hold-out-your-arm myspace-style shots just to remember that I was there too. I like seeing the moments through their eyes as well. More than anything, I’m grateful for these memories. The images will simply make them that much more celebrated.

The first half of my summer was spent largely in a classroom, learning Calculus. As much as 4 hours of school (and at least as much homework) everyday wasn’t fun, I loved it. Looking at math in a completely different way was marvelous. Tough, yes, but good. This fall marks the start of my gap year. Last year I touched on how this year would be for university, but things change. Life happens. It knocked me out of school, riddled with illness for 3 1/2 months last winter. I graduated, but I want more. More classes, more time. I want to travel. I want to breathe. The opportunity to take a break doesn’t roll along often – and I’m not naive enough to assume that it will pop up whenever I’m exhausted from here on in, but this time, I’m grabbing it by the horns.

Before Calculus got underway, I had a week. One week of pure summer. Spontaneous sleepovers at best friend’s houses, all-day Doctor Who marathons, mini-road trips, Canada day celebrations, and laughter. So much laughter.

I hiked up to teahouses with my dad.

I watched my brother grow. Grow as an athlete, as a player, and in height.

I baked with my mom.

I made pie, banana bread, millet biscuits, and cinnamon rolls. They were our staples. I didn’t experiment very much with recipes, rather just celebrating the ones we love. Sometimes going back to our roots can be the best thing.

We went back. Back to the place where my grandma grew up. She saw her childhood home for the last time (her words! Not mine.). We marveled at the changes the places that live fiercely in our memories have had. Rather than just the stories regaled each year, new ones came to light. Long-departed family members were painted with memories rather than simply being a name in my family tree. I crave those stories. I don’t want to let them be lost as the years and generations go by.

This summer, I shared food with friends, and family. Pie, of course, but also meals. In the homes of fellow bloggers, great meals. Meals out. A meal enjoyed sprawled in a friend’s backyard, as a final hurrah before she left for university. Meals to celebrate the season. Meals with new friends, and meals with my oldest friends.

People gathered. Not just for meals, but to give, love and celebrate. Being a witness, let alone a participant of this is something I’ll always be grateful for. Tough things reminded me how important gathering with love is. Spectacularly planned or spontaneous, a gathering is a massive gift.

I looked for light. Light in unexpected places. When it commanded attention, I listened and captured. I let myself wander, going down paths I’ve gone down a countless times, as well as those that were new to me.

This was my summer. The summer after I graduated high school*. Now it’s over, and here begins the fall after I graduated high school. There is magic in my fingertips typing that. New recipes and normalcy will come soon enough, but for now, I wanted to celebrate this.

Tell me about your summer. (Or winter, for southern hemisphere friends!). What moments do you want to remember?


*Title courtesy of my dear friend N. Let’s bake together soon, okay?

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica September 14, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Such a beautiful post Lauren! I hope that you truly savor this special year you have and capture it all with your camera. The memories will last a life time!

Danielle September 15, 2011 at 5:46 am

What a lovely post! Sounds like you had an amazing Summer! By any chance was that teahouse picture at Lake Louise? I recognize it so much! If so, please tell me you had a pb&j while you were there because it was the best pb&j I have ever had, haha. Could have been just from all that hiking.

I wish you all the best for another great season!

Lauren | Celiac Teen September 15, 2011 at 6:52 am

Danielle, yes! It’s the teahouse up at the Plain of Six Glaciers (though we did hike up to the Lake Agnes one too). I did not have the pb&j! Do they have gluten-free bread? I had a lovely maple tea there, and we brought our own lunch to eat. Thank you so much! I wish you the same.

Alta September 15, 2011 at 7:54 am

What a wonderful post – with such amazing photos. Look like it was a gorgeous way to spend a truly special moment in your life.

Wendy Santos September 15, 2011 at 8:10 am


I hope you truly savour the moment. I wanted to let you know that I
think your website is marvelous. I check it out often even though we
do not have the issues faced by most Celiacs, I truly appreciate your
efforts to help others with your encouragement. Good for you.
Best regards,

Shirley @ gfe September 15, 2011 at 5:07 pm

So many lovely photos and sentiments to go with them, Lauren! And that’s a beautiful photo of you … so pensive and pretty. :-)


Michael Smith September 15, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Really well written Lauren! Your blog is a real treat for me to get to read these days at school.

kamran siddiqi September 15, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Lauren, I read this during class earlier, and then I had to read it again because it’s such a wonderful post. And as I told you the other day on Skype, I cannot get over that greenbrier photo- just gorgeous!

Valerie September 16, 2011 at 1:34 pm

This was such a lovely post, with wonderful pictures! I wish you all the best for fall, winter, and spring, until next summer!

I spent the summer travelling in Europe, going to my favourite film festival, procrastinating writing my thesis, and planning my wedding. Sometimes it felt like summer, sometimes not. But it was never boring.

Julie September 16, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Wow. I remember my summer after high school.. I’m pretty sure I didn’t view it through such mature eyes! It was mostly spent staying up late and chasing boys..
This summer though? Too fast. Glad to have been able to share some pie with you at least!

Cheryl Arkison September 17, 2011 at 2:17 pm

It always so magical when you reflect. It forces your reader to do the same. I don’t know I was nearly as smart or appreciative of my time back then…
Great portrait at the end there!

Kate September 18, 2011 at 10:27 am

Another lovely post :)
You have much to look forward to this Fall. I hope to see you in the Winter!


Ashley September 20, 2011 at 8:56 am

Your blog is gorgeous! I can’t believe I’m just finding you now. :) Searched for GF cornbread and you popped up!

jenjenk September 23, 2011 at 6:37 pm

Lauren: I’m so glad to see that you enjoyed every moment of it. It goes by so fast!! Your mom may kill me for saying it but don’t rush through college – enjoy every moment of it!! [says the girl who graduated in 5 years… ;-)]

…i loved you before, but i love you even more now that I know you did the Doctor Who Marathon, too!! I just did it this summer myself, after work…and i still like David Tennant the best!!!


Anne September 29, 2011 at 2:37 pm

what a beautiful post. Love the pics!
~looking forward to exploring your blog some more, and showing it to my 13 year old daughter {we are both grain free & vegan due to allergies} …she will love it.

gfeater October 2, 2011 at 7:40 pm

What a great post. I hope after your gap year that you continue to explore and publish your writing!

Stephanie October 2, 2011 at 10:58 pm

This is a wonderful post, I can tell I’m going to enjoy reading your blog. I spent my summer getting to know Calgary and settling into life here. So far, so good!

Prerna@IndianSimmer November 15, 2011 at 10:55 pm

A beautiful post! This will make you cry 15 years from now, I promise :-)

kyleen November 21, 2011 at 8:41 pm

I think you’ve captured the very essence of summer and growing up in this post. I haven’t even graduated from high school yet and I’m already feeling nostalgic.

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