What I Did With My Summer Vacation
September 1st is here, which means it's time to put the best summer ever series to bed. (This is Day 63, if you're still keeping track.)
The summer of 2009 may not be officially behind us for another 21 days, but there's something about the arrival of September that signals that it's time to shift modes.Those of us who have kids heading back to school in another week (or who have already heeded the call of the school bus or the carpool) are already marching to the beat of the fall routine.
I like the routine and structure of fall, and yet I'm already missing the more improvisational rhythm of summer. I love the spontaneous, unexpected, the unplanned.
My main goal, this summer, was to indulge in the freelance writer's equivalent of a sabbatical (self-funded, of course). I set up a reading and writing program for myself, one that took me boldly where I had not gone before as a writer, but where I will be hanging out on a regular basis from now on. There's no going back once you've sample certain writerly delights, you know.
But before you get the idea that this summer was All About Me: well, reality check time. I'm still very much part of a family. (Status Update: Mom of four; married; many other relatives; etc.)
It was an awesome summer on the kid front. I had the opportunity to watch my four kids thrive and take bold steps of their own. My daughter decided to listen to her inner artist and start studying photography this fall, abandoning the college program that might have put money in the bank, but that would have made her miserable. My oldest son took a journey that demonstrated that he is willing to put heart and soul into going after what he really wants out of life. His passion really shone through as he found a focus – a motivation – to move him to action. My next youngest son demonstrated that he is able to juggle multiple commitments without missing a beat, online or offline. And my youngest son took a giant step from childhood to that in-between stage that will soon lead to the teen years. He can drive a boat, he can build benches and sheds, and he can advocate for himself and others in powerful ways. How far he has come in the past two years. I am so grateful to the people who helped cushion his fall and helped him find his way again.
My husband, who desperately needed some downtime this summer, managed to escape from the office every now and again to spend time at the cottage. He continues to try to cope with the pressures of being an only child caring for aging parents in another city (a complicated situation that won't be easily resolved). Maybe, now that all our kids are doing well at the same time (a major miracle in this family), we'll be able to enjoy more time as a couple this fall. Sure there are my pregnancy book revisions (very tight timeline) , his job (insanely busy at the best of times), and our volunteer commitments (we are both active volunteers in our community), but I have this feeling that we're coming back into our own again. It will be our 23rd wedding anniversary in October – and we've together since I was in Grade 10 and he was in Grade 11 (that was in 1978).
I think I'll make this my goal for fall: to find ways to spend more time with this fellow who gives so much to our family; to try to lighten his load a little; and to let him know in my oh-so-subtle ways (like that blackboard-sized neon pink heart that I drew on the blackboard in his Grade 11 math class one Valentine's Day long ago) that after four kids and all these years, I still want his coffee cup next to mine.