An Odd Sort of Summer

512px-Aloe_July_2009-1It’s been an odd sort of summer. Most of the time it doesn’t even seem like summer to me. I’m distracted and really busy. Each day seems to have a monumental ‘to-do’ list attached to it and no matter how much I get done, there’s a long, long list of things still to do. And I’m tired. A lot. Not sure what’s up with that but I guess there’s some direct correlation between being busy, having a lot still to do and being tired, but I don’t like it. I just want more energy and I want to get more done. It’s no wonder I’m not seeing a lot of this thing I normally think of as summer.

Things are different this year, too. There have been a lot of changes, a lot in the works and just a flurry of constant activity. We normally go away as a family in late July but work schedules have made it difficult for everyone to be there for the full week, so we opted to change things up this year and won’t be going away until a bit later in August. Even though we’re all very excited, it still is going to be a bit different since my oldest son and his fiancée won’t be there this year other than visiting for the day. They are getting married on Labor Day weekend and can’t take the extra time off. It is the first time in 27 summers that my son won’t be there and it’s going to be strange that he isn’t.  His fiancée has also been coming for quite a few years now, too, so that’s odd as well.

photo-140My middle son moved out on his own at the end of June and it’s been yet another transition to accommodate although he lives close by and visiting his extra-fabulous pool a few times has been a real treat (if only I could manage to get there more often!). My youngest son has been home since late May, yet we’ve only managed to wrangle a few hours here or there together for the most part on our own each week, which is something I really miss. I know when kids are home on college break, it’s pretty much expected not to see a ton of them but the fault doesn’t lie with him. Between work and other obligations, our schedules haven’t been syncing and it makes me sad to think that he will be returning soon. We did have one fabulous day in the White Mountains simply because he had it off from work and I was able to quickly arrange to take a vacation day.

We’ve all been distracted, too, but in a good way with the impending wedding. Life is just hurrying along and it’s hard for me to believe that I’ll soon have two children (albeit grown-up children at that) married, one entering into his third year as a teacher and my youngest beginning his second year of college. Come early September, I will be on my own (well, as on my own as I could be with two dogs, three cats and a new kitten) for the very first time in my life. Sure, my youngest will come home during breaks from school but essentially, it will be just me and that’s going to be somewhat of an adjustment for sure. In a family such as mine, everyone is there for each other, picking up the slack, having each other’s backs and generally helping in whatever way we can. This doesn’t change when the home locations change for anyone but it will be totally different to not have anyone here with me.

For the foreseeable future, I anticipate that busy will just continue to be the way my life will be. There’s a lot of opportunities to take advantage of, a lot of catching up to do in many areas of my life and a lot that I really want to accomplish. I don’t so much fear all work, no play making me a dull girl as I do how quickly time is going by. I don’t want to just get through the day; I want to make sure I’m taking time to actually be present in each day and taking time to appreciate what’s happening around me. There’s been an awful lot of days lately that I don’t feel as though I have been. I need to start writing more again and not just writing that is work-related. I love so many of the things that are happening in my life but I want to be certain I’m finding the time (and energy) to focus on the little things that mean so much to me.

While it hasn’t been the usual summer fare this year, there has been some days and moments that will stick with me — spending a whole day with my daughter, going to Ogunquit, which may possibly be the first time that just she and I ever went to the beach alone. When you’re child #2 of four and live with a family that did everything together for the most part, somehow solo beach time seldom happens. When she was of the age that we might wander off to a beach on our own, she was working weekends. Somehow, we’ve always gone with others in the family in recent years. This was a special day and perfect in every way. There’s been quite a few times that she has come for dinner on a Saturday and stayed until 2:30 or 3 a.m., just sitting on the couch, watching a movie, talking and having fun visiting together with at least one brother present. One night, clearly overtired, we found it strangely compelling to watch ridiculous kitten videos and movie trailers until almost 3.

65065_10151556447781959_1064254757_nThe aforementioned day in the mountains with my youngest. I love rivers, possibly even more than lakes, but I love water in every form. We hit the river by Loon Mountain, a special family place and later went to the Lower Falls for a swim. Gorgeous day, cool mountain water, great company and conversation and of course, good music all day long and laughter. We talked that day about how much we wanted a kitten since he was young the last time we had kittens in the house. The very next night, as I exited the house to take the dogs for a walk, he had just gotten home with a tiny grey tiger kitten that a family friend had acquired for us and presented him with to come home and surprise me with.

There’s been occasion for just the three boys to be here, most recently for an impromptu late breakfast in the early afternoon this past weekend. I love nothing better than to hear my kids talking at the kitchen table, to cook a ton of food and to just enjoy their company. I love when they ask favors of each other, ask advice and are readily available, willing to coordinate time and efforts to help each other. When my daughter asked her two younger brothers for help at their sister-in-law-to-be’s bridal shower, they didn’t hesitate to lend a hand and ended up staying there the whole time running errands and helping in any way that they were asked.

I think of visiting my middle son in his new apartment and seeing his obvious pleasure and pride in creating such a nice space for his first official home of his own. His dog, who lived with us here for the past couple of years, was as excited to have me there as my son was. After months and months of stockpiling household items, scouring Craig’s List for deals and taking advantage of offers from others of things the no longer needed, it was nice to see everything out of boxes and bins and have it all come together so well.

It always seems to ease into summer and the days feel long and luxurious usually until mid-season when they begin to pick up in pace and move far too quickly toward fall. There are those who would argue that no day moves any faster than the next, regardless of the season or time into the season but I don’t believe that to be true. In reality, 24 hours is 24 hours, but some sort of weird time lapse seems to happen during some days and they are gone in less than a blink. This summer certainly has been like that.

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