Moments ago I lay sleeping in the bed in my brother’s guest room. Pillow from home under my head, duvet cocooning my tired body and husband by my side, nothing, not even dreams, filled my head.
That is until I was awoken by a child. The same child who had insisted on removing “hot-pajamas” seven hours ago was now, true to form, seeking something warm to put on. I sleepily yanked a Daddy-t-shirt over her head and sent her back to bed in her cousin’s room. My own warm covers beckoned and slumber still lingered around the edges of my mind. I lay back down with plans to sleep at least another hour or two. But my mind began to fill.
“If you get up now you will be tired. You were up late last night two nights trying to get ready for this trip. And tonight is your last night in a bed, in a room, with no children. For the next four you will be in one hotel room, with three children: one of whom can’t sleep when others are awake, and two of whom can’t sleep because they are teenagers.” My mother-voice lectured on.
“If you don’t get up now you will lay here awake, compiling lists and composing blog posts. Your bladder, which is already calling your name, will begin to scream, which might in fact wake your beloved next to you if you don’t watch out. But if you get up now you can catch up on your writing before the herd of wild animals descend into your day.” My listen-to-me-take-time-for-me-voice argued back.
And so it goes – “The summer from H---.” No time to breath, to write, to think except, of course, to formulate plans to move on to the next item on the to do list. This particular name for this summer has been there since rainy-cold-where-is-summer-May when I glanced at our family calendar and groaned.
Every week seemed blocked off with some activity. College visits galore. History lessons, disguised as vacation, at Colonial Williamsburg and Monticello. Moving our excited daughter into her summer Arts program at Transy one weekend and returning another to remove her. A wedding, a 50th anniversary and family visits all miles
apart. Houseguests from Taiwan, Europe, North Carolina and Minnesota. Road trips to more states than I could count. Managing the landscapers called forth to create “a little slice of heaven” out of a too small, oft-neglected backyard. And therapy with our youngest: daily therapy, at home and on vacation therapy, new and old therapy, therapy.
Where had my days of lying by our neighborhood pool, children splashing at my side, gone? My stressed mind wanted - no demanded to know.
Now nearing the end of “the summer from H---“ and living to tell about it I see the light at the end of the tunnel and long for it to recede back into darkness, leaving me to relive once again all that this summer delivered:
The wonder and pleasure of travel with daughters whom, despite their varied ages, still can vacation together without killing each other and put up with parents striving to impart knowledge.
To marvel at a child who eats and breaths theatre at GSA for three weeks and comes up crying “More, more, more!”
To relish time with dear old overseas neighbors, watch our daughters reconnect even after three years apart and wish, once again, that we did not live on different continents.
To sit with friends over dinner in our new backyard and not have to weed, or think, “I hate this backyard.”
To sort hundreds of photos from my parent’s fifty years of wedded bliss and stop to savor the memories pouring forth from each one.
To explore with our oldest her future over cups of “Passion iced tea lemonade” as we ramble down roadways from college to college.
To enjoy my one night out all summer with my spouse, sipping wine, talking family talk and loving him more.
Even to explore and learn about new therapies, while plugging away with our old ones, as I watch our youngest work hard at shedding the layers of her past to come into her own as a caring, sharp, responsible, and s-l-o-w-l-y reading being.
Yes. I would do this, “the summer from HEAVEN”, all over again.