I have a little confession to make: despite the amount of complaining I do about summer, about working from home surrounded by unproductive kids and their dirty dishes, about feeling like I’m having a stroke every time I run outside, I actually love summer.
I love dinner on a patio with misters and fans going full blast. I love long walks in the evening when it’s light until ten. I love concerts in the park and sundresses and pedicures and weird sunburns left on that spot on my shoulder I missed with the sunscreen. I love the smell of the neighbor’s barbecue fired up, and spontaneous trips to the snow cone shack.
But here a full third of this summer has passed, and I haven’t had a chance to really lean into it. We started with that mad dash toward the end of the school year, and its ridiculous amount of activity, and it seemed like everyone’s kids were graduating all at once, and then there was the family road trip of the century, and our exchange student’s mother came to stay with us. When she and her daughter left, a former exchange student arrived with her boyfriend for a visit.
In the meantime, we’ve got Colin in swim team and Jack decided to continue with his violin lessons during the summer, which means at one point or another during the day I have to remind someone – usually multiple times – to practice, and someone else to find his goggles, and I’m lucky if I can remember who is supposed to be doing what and going where, and when because everyone’s schedule is completely screwed up.
This is all on top of the fact that I have work to do and people who need me not to disappear on them. When you’re self-employed, it pretty much means there are no hours that aren’t office hours.
Add to that it’s about as hot as the surface of the sun here right now, so we’re headed to the mountains this weekend. I’m trying to figure when I’m going to locate all our camping gear and outline a menu that won’t necessitate my doing any actual cooking while I’m out in the dust and the bugs and (if we’re being honest) likely slightly drunk at 4pm.
When summer hit, it was with a vengeance. All of summer came ALL AT ONCE, and left me stuck underneath a big pile of it, trying to dig my way out.
It’s like summer is trying to smother me.
Who coined that term “lazy days of summer” by the way? I’d like to find that laid back, hippy dude and smack him right in the dreadlocks.
We have a river. When it’s hot outside we sit in it. Welcome to town.
Actually, we don’t do much of this kind of thing anymore. The thought of several hours of just sitting, watching the scenery go by and occasionally getting splashed by a snippy sixteen year-old with a paddle is hard to reconcile with all the stuff that simply must get done, and the many, many important things on my list.
I realize this all points to a loss of ability to appreciate the opportunity to slow down when it presents itself. It’s evidence something’s off balance, that I’m reacting to life instead of living it, and I need to reexamine my priorities.
My dad had a story about a conversation he had (when he was probably the age I am now, come to think about it), with an intern or younger colleague, who remarked about how quickly time seemed to be passing.
Dad said something sage about how that rate would continue to increase with age.
“Well the years must just be whipping by for you, then,” the intern said.
That’s where I am now. The whipping by age where snarky interns are likely to make comments that may very well earn them a smack in the noggin if I’m not worried about a lawsuit.
And yes, I should relish the opportunity to just hang, sometimes. It’s much easier said than done, I’m afraid.
But for a little while, on the river yesterday, time slowed. Even as emails piled up and phone messages went unanswered, even though I couldn’t recall a single item of what I knew were many on my long, long list of very important things, even with all that, it slowed.
It was just for a bit, but enough to remember what it’s like to do just one thing at a time. Enough for a pit stop on a river bank, where a boy swung out and let go of a rope to plunge into a cold, clear current and come up again, smiling.
It was just a short time, but it was enough. And just like that, summer and I are back on good terms.
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