I’m back. I’ve been back for four days, actually. I returned very late Sunday night to a house in full quarantine and spent Monday caring for my sick family. My husband ended up staying home until Wednesday, he was in such bad shape. So far I have managed to avoid this scourge, but caring for everyone else has made it hard to find time to write.
The other thing making it hard to write is my looming to-do list. On the plane ride home it hit me like a sucker punch to the face: I only have two more weeks left with some time to myself on the weekdays. Then one week with me and both kids at home. Then summer is officially over.
It always feels like so much time when the summer starts: a decadent, luxurious expanse of weeks during which so much might get done, but in the end my accomplishments never seem to amount to much. The reality is I only ever have 4-5 hours a day to myself, and when an errand takes 1-2 hours, plus I’m trying to train for half marathon, well that time slips past fast. Not that I’m complaining. Shopping at Cost.co on a weekday morning is as leisurely a way to spend a summer day as I could hope for, and it was wonderful to be able to plan my runs at a time when they didn’t inconvenience anyone else. The truth is I also spent a lot of the summer meeting up with other people, and that is always an aspiration of mine. I guess the point is you can’t have it all, especially when you’re having a lot of really awesome shit like beautiful long runs, lunch and walks with friends, and running errands in the off hours (god I love running errands in the off hours–weekend errands suck!).
So I’m flying home and it hits me that I have two weeks to get the most pertinent things on my summer to-do list done. I drafted a list in my head, then wrote it all down in an app and as soon as the kids went back to camp and daycare on Tuesday I got started. The last couple of days have been a blur of marked off bullet point boxes as I’ve itemized the cloth diapers and put them up on Craigslist, complied the photos from our St. Louis trip and designed the memory book all my aunts requested I make again, researched humane but effective mouse traps (sorry mice, but I can no longer ignore your destructive presence in my garage), culled the kids’ toy boxes and closets, and started actually dropping off out-going bags of crap at their respective final destinations. By the first day of school I want my wardrobe to be reduced to only the essentials, the kitchen to be free of random kids cups and Tupperware without matching lids, my bedroom to be orderly (yes, even my husband’s side), and every last thing I don’t want anymore to be out of my house. I doubt all those things will get done, but a girl can dream.
In the meantime, I’m back to reading blogs again and realizing that one of the reasons it was nice to be away is the lost feeling I get when I’m reading other people’s words, especially when those other people seem to have all the answers. How is it that so many people, most of them not much older than me, seem to know exactly what they are doing in life and I’m still wandering around with way more questions than answers? I have no idea what I want my life to look like, or what long term goals I’m trying to achieve, let alone an action plan for how I might get where I’ll eventually want to go. Instead I read a bunch of people who have all those things, trying to determine if I should follow their lead. The thing is, all of their lives sound really nice, especially since they’re already well on their way to achieving their dreams (or already have achieved them) and it wasn’t even all that hard for them to get there because they are just honoring who they are, not changing to become who they want to be. In the end I just want to be living with intention, but it’s hard to be intentional when you don’t know what you’re intending. I just don’t understand how the question, “who do you want to be?” is still one I’m grappling with, but it absolutely is. And I’m worried I’m not going to know the answer until it’s too late and the habits are too ingrained and there are no opportunities left to change course.
But really, that all sounds more angsty than I actually feel. When it comes down to it I had a really good summer, my husband and I are on great terms, the downtime away from kids and work have allowed me to catch glimpses of myself as the mother I want to be, and I’m no longer just resigned to the new school year, but fostering some hope that it might be worthwhile (and I’m definitely appreciating my full salary (plus a 1.5% raise!) along with the ability to take my daughter to school).
I’m also definitely looking forward to the following school year (2017-18), which feels full of possibility. I have this coming year to really look for a new job, my kids will finally be almost 4 and 7, which seems like it will be much easier than almost 3 and 6, and my birthday will be 7/17/17, on which I will turn 37 and 7 is my lucky number so really, how could it not be a fantastic fucking year?! (Made-up birthday numerology never lies.)
So that is where I’m at. I wanted my first post back to be about the amazing time I had in Colorado with three women that I knew but had never met, but I needed to get this out first (and now that I have, that post should be up quickly). The end of summer is always hard, but I also always find a small seedling of hope sprouting inside me, despite the challenges to come. At the beginning of this summer I felt beat down and broken, but now I feel ready to start again. If that doesn’t suggest a worthwhile six weeks (no matter what officially got done), I don’t know what does.
How was your summer? Do you feel ready for the new school year to begin?