I lost summer.
Yesterday, I was out and about, and I realized that there was the drone of a buzzing insect (a cicada? not sure) but it is a sound that I associate with fall. Stevie Wren asked me, some time ago, how I planned to age. She also said that I seemed like a person that thought about things like that. Yes. Yes, I do. I want to slow down. I want to age slowly.
It seems like I have spent my life doing what I need to do. That was always my primary motivation for nearly everything. I put a husband through graduate school. I worked my ass off then, working two jobs. I couldn't stop. And then when we moved to the country, to Michigan, I thought, "Ah. This is my time. I've got three children, and I can be a stay at home mom, and do all those mom things, be a home-maker. My husband at the time wanted a professional woman. I worked because if I did not, in his mind, I was married to him for the money, 'using' him. My worth was very much tied into the amount of money I brought into the house. And when that marriage came crashing down around my ears, I had to work harder than ever. You don't get support from a man in prison, and the government does not help working women. Period. And then Tim came along. He is a worker, and he is quite candid that what impressed him most about me was that I was the hardest working woman he'd ever seen, came to work nicely dressed, but did not hesitate to get right in there and do what needed to done, never mind the dirt. And 10 years later, we have prospered. We've gotten three of our five through college, paying for it semester by semester. Cara begins college this fall, the fourth. And suddenly, we do not have to work so hard. We are in a good place. We have an income independent of our jobs. The dust is beginning to settle. We can slow down.
At the beginning of the summer, my mindset was 'this is Cara's last summer, my last summer with my last child.' Although I intended to savor it, Cara had a different mindset: 'this is my last summer with my friends. She intended to savor every minute of it. She was gone a lot. We went positive for WNV in July, making me busier than usual at work. There was the turmoil with the secretary. Family stuff. Sick dog. Suddenly, before you know it, I'm listening to the sounds of autumn and realizing that I did not, not even once, take the time to swing on the porch swing and watch the lightning bugs.
Last night, we were in the stores, shopping for Cara's dorm room. A foot locker, a magenta floor lamp with a reading light on the side. Pillows to coordinate with the bedding she'd already bought, school supplies, desk toppers, laundry soap, laundry tote, hangers, bulletin board, white dry erase board, programmable coffee maker. The all important i-Pod speakers. Everything you can imagine. The trunk was full, the back seat was full, and Cara was holding stuff on her lap. And in the middle of the third store, it hit me. This is for real, and it is happening soon. That last summer is over, before it even seemed to begin, for me, anyways. Somewhere along the line, I managed to lose an entire summer.
So, yes, Stevie, I have given some thought to how I want to age. I want to take the time to savor the fruits of our labor. I want to have the time to take pleasure in life. To travel. To see things that I've only read about. To be happy. As the years go by, it seems that I have less and less to worry about. I want to go to Chautauqua Institute to catch some of their summer concert series. I want to garden in earnest. I want to do the winery tour. I want Tim and I to spend more time on the porch swing. I want Saturday nights with friends over raucous casual cookouts on the back deck. I want to see my kids more. I want to laugh my ass off more often. I want time to talk on the phone. I want to sit around the fire pit in the back yard, watching the sparks spin into the night sky. I want to lay on my back watching the Perseid showers. I want to watch lightning bugs.
Mostly, I just want to figure out how to hold on to my days.