Saturday, August 21, 2010

August, and Everything After

August has been good to me. In fact, the whole summer has been good to me. TOO good. I think that's the problem.  Because now I'm feeling miserable. Not because it's August, but because it is almost NOT August anymore.  It is almost  ... September. September is the month I have always wanted to love, but can not. I am looking forward to loving it some day, almost as much as August, or maybe even more. It seems like the perfect month here in Western New York. It isn't as hot as the rest of the summer, usually, and even if we still get some blistering days, we appreciate them more because it's September.  And after September comes October, fall for real, with sometimes a touch of winter,too. September has a touch of fall to it. The leaves begin to turn slightly, and they look gorgeous in the bright September afternoon sunshine.  It's the best of both fall and summer, still. But here, for me, it simply means vacation is over. That summer vacation I started counting down til, in January. That summer vacation that took me a couple weeks to totally adjust to. Then, that summer vacation that just was soooo relaxing and enjoyable and, ... short. Dammit, summer vacation is just too short. I am the Queen Mother of rough transitions, even when transitioning to something good. I just can not DO change. I crave it, and fight it concurrently.  So by the time I adjust, summer is well under way and I lose a couple weeks wandering about, not quite knowing what to do with the loose, unstructured time in my days. I feel like I squander it, or at least the enjoyment of it, and it's just too short to do that.
     This summer, the first week off was spent cleaning out my dad's house - a boring, emotional, and time consuming task that I would have preferred not to have had to tackle at all, and especially not then. Looking back, I am glad, of course, that we got it out of the way early, instead of dragging it out all summer.  But it seemed a rough start. Then, immediately following that, summer school began, and the days had a rhythm again rather quickly, but having to be at work in the early morning every day limited what I could do with the rest of my day. By the time summer school was done, I had the whole glorious month of August stretched out in front of me, though.. It seemed endless, and perfect, but that month of August is ALWAYS a mirage.  - it seems endless, but in reality, I believe it to be the shortest month of the year. Your calendar says August has 31 days? Really? Mine, too, but don't believe it. If that's true, then the days must only have about 12 hours in them. Yesterday, it was the beginning of the month, and now, I only have a week left before I go back to work? NO WAY! 
     I must admit, though, it HAS been an awesome month. I went to the zoo and had a great day with two of my kids.  I went to Farm Sanctuary and Moosewood Restaurant with my girls, another day, and we had a great time there, as well.  I went to Cleveland for three days and had a good time there. Oh wait, no I didn't. I HATED Cleveland. Oh well. But still, it was an INTERESTING three days.We were  there for a conference that was valuable, if deep and intense, and exhausting, and we did manage to tour a cool cemetery and squeeze in little shopping and some good meals. No matter that three days in Cleveland FELT like a month... I've also painted both my bathrooms (the third one hasn't happened yet, but I don't feel terrible. My plans always exceed my time), cleaned my bedroom, fixed the shower (well, not me personally, but thanks to my brother, it has been fixed and is usable again. 6 of us showering in one bathroom this summer was...cozy. Glad to have the second one, mine, back before school morning craziness sets in).  I have picked a few berries, spent some good times with my kids, read a TON of books, and enjoyed every single minute home with my dogs and chickens. It KILLS me to go back to school and have to hook my dogs out on their runs again from 8-4 every day. More than any other reason for not wanting to go back to work is that - simply put, I LIKE spending my days at home with my dogs. And I have to believe that they would prefer my company to that of the back yard for hours at a time, five days a week. I hate leaving them behind. I hate leaving my house, and I hate leaving my dogs. I would make a good hermit, if it didn't almost verge on agoraphobia, at times!
     OK, so I have a week. And I intend  and WANT to enjoy it, and make it count. But the transitioning, and tears, have already begun.  My eldest has already been back at college for his senior year for a week already. My second is working on her packing list and getting her stuff around for her second year away at school. She doesn't leave until Labor Day, but it's closing in. And my third will be a senior this year. I am having trouble with that, as well, knowing full well how fast a year passes (even if the day to day time seems to creep, sometimes) and then, my youngest will be a senior next year.   I swore up and down I would NEVER be a sad empty-nester when my kids went away, but guess what? Like so many other judgements and proclamations I have made without experience to back them up, I was wrong. I am having a TERRIBLE time adjusting to days like today - one kid back at school, two kids away at work, other kid out of state vacationing with a friend, and here I sit, unable to make myself accomplish anything constuctive today, because I am too focused on the empty house and the hour glass of time running out. How ... counterproductive. Really. I know better. BUT,,, knowing does not always make it better, or right, either. Sigh. 
     Do you ever just wish you had a magic wand that you could wave over yourself and change parts about yourself that you don't like?  I do. I would wave away the difficulty with transitions. I would make myself able to just live in the moment and go with the flow, instead of fretting and worrying and trying not to. I would make myself happy that I've had a great summer with four great kids at home, instead of sitting here, feeling sad and teary that one is gone, and the others are poised, ready to go, in two weeks, a year, two years.  I would wave away my dislike of returning to work, and would make myself be a person who embraces the new school year, instead of dragging myself into it, kicking and screaming inside.  I would also wave away my worry  over my dogs. They are probably FINE outside all day. They are better treated and more loved than millions of people's dogs. I shouldn't worry that they are lonely and sad without me, just because I am lonely and sad without them, right? They are DOGS, not people, right? (Why doesn't that work for me?)
     So, I should make a list. Yeah, that same list I was going to make just before school ended, of what I wanted to do with the first week of my vacation. Not that THAT list matters now, since it was spent, unpectedly,  on my dad's house. But I feel like I should make a list of what I want to accomplish, or do, or get done, or see, or start, or finish, or whatever.... this last week, so that I don't squander it away doing nothing but fretting. Is it silly to put things on that list like, take my dogs for TWO walks a day this week?  And to NOT cry over my kids going to college, again?  And to get my blog caught up with all those awesome things I DID do this month? And to TRY not to worry about what comes AFTER this week? I'm not sure that would make for a very worthwhile list.
I just want the magic wand. Then I wouldn't need a list to remind me of what to do and what not to do, who to be and who not to be. I could just wave that wand and make everything perfect.  And I could make August last forever. That really WOULD be perfect.


Leigh said...

Yes, immerse yourself in the moment and make that list!
Ugh but you reminded me about your blog post when you intended to make that list... I remember because I was all excited about making my own list and then well... I didn't. So maybe I should get started too! LOL

Where has summer went? My baby is already back in school and so I say its ok to cry when your babes go back to school. Lord knows I have!

Karen Sue said...

yes, I took #2, the only girl, to Fredonia for her first year of college and cried all day long. I'm a bit of a crier, but then, wouldn't they be disappointed if I didn't cry about them leaving. My kids have all played 3 sports + do summer league stuff...there is very little down time. And senior year flies so fast.. Our school had an awesome Girls State Championship to celebrate this year, but also a suicide to deal and heal with...
my oldest goes to UB this weekend for year #3 and it is a bit easier, but still, not so easy. MOM is the job I take the most serious in intensely...but I have great friends to get me through.

Dog Hair in my Coffee said...

Thanks, Leigh and Karen Sue. I guess it doesn't matter too much if your kids are going to kindergarten or 8th grade or their last year of college. Kids are kids, and always your babies in some way, and if, as you said Karen Sue, we take the job of mom seriously, I guess it IS a sad time, and ok to feel sad about it. You've both validated my sadness just enough for me!