Monday, June 30, 2014

And Summer Begins

How is it that you define summer? Is it by the calendar, a hard and fast June 21st? Is it by the last day of school (which means that summer starts at different times all over, and even at different times for different kids in the same city)? Is it by the weather, so that summer really begins on the first hot day (which would mean summer might start in early May)? Or is it by the first day of camp?

For me, it has been a little bit of each of these, but none more so than today, when some of my kids headed out of town for their summer adventures. These days, my summer has become defined by a smaller household.

When I was out of work, the exodus came with a mixture of agony and relief. While a quieter household allowed me to focus on my job search, it also made the empty emptier and my purpose more unclear. Certainly, I was looking for work, but since I was not working (translate: bringing in money) or consumed with child activities, I found it hard sometimes to see quite where I fit in. Yet, I was glad to know that my kids could escape from my often somber mood, even if just for a short time. When I have been working, it has taken me most of the summer to get used to not racing each morning for early school buses, and used to returning each evening to the very different home dynamic.

Few of us grownups have the real summer/rest of the year split that our kids enjoy. But as my children "began their summer" today, I realized that what I see as summer has begun too, a time that has looked different to me each year. What will this summer bring? Hard to say--except for some ridiculous heat, a bit more quiet, and perhaps a little more sleep.

And from time to time, thoughts of having the noise and chaos and sleep deprivation return when everyone's back for the fall.

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