I'm having less trouble than usual saying goodbye to this summer vacation. I suspect it's because I was really lame and lethargic all summer, so why not go back to work? Plus, after having a bad teaching year last year for a variety of reasons, I'm anticipating getting my mojo back this year. I'm excited about my curriculum and my teaching team, and I'm optimistic about my students and my department.
But saying goodbye to summer itself? NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!
This summer was crazy hot by Oregon standards. I LOVED it. I mean, yes, I did also discover that I'm more of an 80s kind of girl than a 90s kind of girl, but give me 90 and hot over 65 and rainy any day. Opening the windows at sunset, putting fans in them, and flopping around on top of the bedspread until, sometime around midnight, the room finally cools off enough to get under the sheet--LOVE IT. Wearing one pair of shorts day after day after day after day because they're the only pair that fit and nothing else is cool enough--LOVE IT. Putting the kids to bed in sleeping bags on the back porch because their rooms are on the hot side of the house--LOVE IT.
There is so much I didn't do this summer--no lake swimming, barely any camping, no mountains, and due to the Mother's Day Bee Sting Incident (which started with me saying, "Stop freaking out, a bee's not going to just fly up and sting you," and ended with, you guessed it, a bee flying up and stinging my youngest child), I couldn't even get my family to eat on the deck. But still, it was SUMMER, MAN. I read 30 books. Roses bloomed. I stayed up late and slept in, heedless of my children's all-morning video game extravaganzas. Ice cream was consumed. (Do you like how I suddenly switched to passive voice for that one?) We dug out the slip-n-slide, hosed off the more obvious mold stains, and kids frolicked. I'd stop by my sister's house, and three hours and two glasses of wine later, we'd light a fire in her fire pit. My husband developed a habit of picking up iced coffees every time he was out in the afternoon, and even more than the iced coffee aspect (which is pretty awesome already), there was the little rush of getting a treat from my sweetheart, knowing he was thinking of me. Oak finally figured out the crawl stroke, Linden learned archery at camp, and I hosted two whole play dates.
Also--and please don't take this the wrong way, all you Mamas and Papas out there--I did not have to grade one single paper, and the only freaky kids I had to deal with were my own. Plus, I could see a therapist once a week. There is just no way to have regular therapy during the school year. So, yay for mental health.
Now it's ending. There is still the lovely golden summer light in the evening, but it arrives earlier and turns to dusk quicker. Oak woke up early this morning needing another blanket on his bed. The swifts have left our chimney.
I wonder sometimes what it would be like to live somewhere that is warm year-round. If I love summer so much, why do I stay in this place where we earn our sunny days with 8 months of rain? Then I remember the winter I spent in Mexico. As part of my grad school teaching practicum, I lived with a family and taught English at a community college. My host sister and I had several variations of this conversation:
Martha: (something about a barbecue)
Me: Oh, we have barbecues in the summer too!
Martha: Why in the summer?
Me: That's the only time the weather is good enough.
Martha: Really? Weird.
(For "barbecue," substitute picnic, outdoor swimming, sundresses, etc.)
And while I enjoyed my Mexican winter, I realize that part of what makes these things so special to me is their very rarity. Painted toenails in sandals wouldn't give me a little thrill if that's how my feet always looked. Lemonade would start to feel passé. I'd miss the ceremony of setting out the patio furniture and lose my deadline for getting myself to a lake. This horrible sense of NOOOOOOOOOOOOO I get as August slides into September is the price I pay for the bliss summer brings. Even this year, when I was dull and unmotivated, I kept turning to my kids and saying, "Have I mentioned I love summer?"
"Yes, Mom. About a hundred times."
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