The Summer I Missed

Lord, have mercy! I cannot believe it is already October. What happened to summer?

A strange phenomenon has happened as I’ve gotten older. Time is speeding up. I know, I know. It’s really not passing any faster than it did when I was a “young-un,” but now it seems that every time I turn around, a season has passed.

This summer has been full of adventures and it has passed by at warp speed.

I usually don’t feel like it’s summer until I have been swimming at least two or three times. This summer I tried to make it to Wave Country, our local wave pool, on August 23, my daughter Julie’s 23rd birthday. We were stunned to discover it had already closed except on Saturdays and Sundays. Julie and I looked at each other as we sat in the parking lot, then she got out and went to the gate to read the sign that confirmed yes indeed, the pool was closed. This year school started in Davidson County on August 1. Julie commented, “That’s just not right.” My feelings exactly.

Back in the dark ages when I was growing up, school didn’t start until after Labor Day. I remember the crispness in the autumn air, the smell of freshly cleaned floors and the (what seemed to me then) wide halls at my elementary school, the thrill of getting new supplies for school (which were ever so much less expensive than what parents have to buy today). I passed on my love for school supplies to Julie, who looked forward to shopping for Post-it notes, new notebooks, notebook paper, organizers, colored pencils and crayons, book covers, etc.

The beginning of school was a different matter for our older child, Daniel. He stressed out every year when it was time to start school. In third grade he began showing symptoms of stress: his chest hurt, among other physical symptoms. He called home (John was working from home) and asked his dad to come get him. If I had been there, I would have kindly told him no, that he could make it through the day. John took a different approach, and perhaps it was for the best. Our sensitive son needed a little extra TLC. Fortunately he had nurturing, empathetic teachers who were patient with him while he tried to learn all the rules. For the first month or so of school every year from third grade on through about sixth grade, Daniel would say to me, “Mom, tell me the rules. There are so many new rules to learn!” I tried to simplify things for him. “Son,” I said, “remember these things: Do what your teacher says. Pay attention. Keep your hands to yourself.”

Darn. I forgot where I was going with this post, chasing the rabbit trail of memories of the first of school with my kids. I think I was going to say that summer just passed me by while I was traveling for work. Starting in June, I have been out of town for at least 3-4 days once a month until my last trip, to Wichita at the end of September. I like to travel, but I usually I am not away from home that much. While I was traveling, I fell behind in my e-mails at work. I finally just started going through my inbox, pressing Delete, Delete, Delete. Who has time to read all those marketing blogs, writing tips, and other interesting stuff when you have work to do? I started limiting myself to 15 minutes of e-mail in the morning, another 15 around midday, and another 15 at the end of the day. Thanks to one of my boss’s help (it takes two people to manage me, heh-heh), I learned to prioritize (triage e-mail) and take control of my day.

So now I’m looking forward to a little time at home before the holiday season. I am trying to slow things down a bit. I enjoy walking, so I take walks by myself sometimes and enjoy looking at chipmunks, squirrels, butterflies, trees (I am forever trying to identify them), and even the “wildlife” (students) on Vanderbilt’s campus. Fall, my favorite season, is here…and I’m determined to enjoy it. I can’t wait to take at least one hike. Maybe it’ll happen this weekend, who knows?

My mantra for fall has become: “Breathe in, breathe out. Realize how much you are blessed.”