It is August, the final month of summer break. I accomplish the least during this month, partly due to the heat, but mostly due to the fact I can’t seem to get control of the remaining time. I feel the air changing. In the morning, a hint of fall crispness provokes unwanted sentimental emotion. It tells me that this will be over some day. I will miss all the chaos and unknown. It tells me to enjoy what I’ve got. Enjoy my children now. Enjoy it all now.
There is an accumulation of mud and unknown sticky stuff on my floors. We’ve already begun the month-before school-starts obligatory doctor’s and dentist appointments. My oldest son is on the cross-country team and his 6-day a week practices have begun. Which, for me includes a 6 to 12 mile bike ride to his high school and back. I ride with my son (he has autism), until I know he can do it safely on his own. Once school starts, he’ll ride the bus. I’ve bought the kids very few new school clothes and supplies this year, but at least, I’m done with the “shopping.” This week, I will look through closets and drawers, repair anything I can stitch up, then arrange it all neat and easy for them to find in the mornings.
By September, my kids will be off to school and my oldest daughter back to college. I will miss them all — but especially my oldest. She won’t be home at night. I won’t see her in the mornings. I will miss talking with her, watching trashy reality TV with her, baking and cooking with her. I will miss comparing diet status and weigh ins, and her showing me yet another dress in which she looks stunning. (This weight loss thing is a Big Deal. I am proud of her). Nor will she be here to celebrate her 20th birthday. I know no other way of saying it: It makes me feel so sad. (Sadness has become a character in the room here. I would love for him to leave).
For now, we have the few weeks left of August. Gosh — not even two weeks! We all are staying up later, trying to squeeze in one last moment of time to do things that must be done before school starts. For me the list includes cleaning the fridge, having a yard sale (or taking it all to Good Will), and finishing a script. For the kids the list includes squeezing in another sleep over, another day at the swim park, another hike somewhere, another jaunt over to DQ for an Oreo Blizzard. My boys will increase their late-night-time by watching another old episode of Twilight Zone or Family Guy. They will sneak in another level of a game to brag of their accomplishments and heroics. Nora will be with them through it all, playing with them, proving how tough she is (not) until I intervene saying the classic phrase, “before someone gets hurt.” Nick will be up and down the stairway, annoyed by his siblings’ noise and use of his computer, yet unable to keep himself away from them. Maybe I’ll attempt another go at Gin Rummy, teaching them the basic rules. They aren’t thrilled with card games. I might have to introduce gambling. Ritz crackers, I’ve got.
After I yell again for them to finally go to sleep, they will 10 minutes later be in the kitchen for another drink of water or milk. They will tell me that they can’t sleep, that their stomachs hurt or ask for another hug. Of course I will hug them. I’m always happy to give another one of those. I need the hugs just as much as they do. For the remainder of August, they all will have a new excuse each night until the last hour before School-Starts-Tomorrow Eve. By September 1st, they, including Emily away at school, will all be exhausted, but ready and excited for the school year because it is once again new.
I want to feel that same newness, that same expectancy. If I finish my script before Emily leaves (August 31), maybe it is possible. That would be an accomplishment that could buoy against an attack of emotions. After that, I would also be ready to buckle down and rewrite my second script in the line up. I tell myself: It’s my job. My non paying until it pays off job. I must put the time in and fight the urge to nap. (When I can’t solve a script problem, I become incredibly sleepy. Funny). But my usual excuses for failing my job will all be off to school. During summer, I blame the noise, the consistent interruptions — but soon the quiet here will make me weepy. I must write as a way to interrupt the meaner, more depressing characters that often start talking there.
For now, this month drags on. Chores must be done before it all hits. I will make my lists and knock them off one at a time. Deadlines loom, I know. I will meet them. But for now… though I know I should be working, maybe I can view August as other families do, as vacation time. We aren’t going anywhere in reality, but I can view it as a vacation of the mind. For the remaining weeks I can shut down the voices in my head that tell me I am doing it all wrong, and instead, simply be happy that my kids are with me. Maybe, for once I can relax and be happy. There is no place I need to be but here.