The second season I am to know
You are the sunlight in my growing
So little warmth I’ve felt before
It isn’t hard to feel me glowing
I watched the fire that grew so low, oh”
Within two hours of meeting Cassidy for the first time, the clock struck July 2nd, which was the date in which my father had passed away exactly 20 years earlier. I don’t even know how I feel about faith and love and magic, except that they’re inexplicably connected. Eight years after that, my grandfather passed away on July 2nd, if you can believe that, and it was only days or minutes after finding out that his great grandson, my Desmond, was safely home from the NICU. It’s not that I think of any of these instances as replacements, like meeting the great love of my life on the eve of the night I lost my father, or losing my grandfather the day I really knew I had gained my healthy son. It’s that I think of July 2nd as being on a collision course with me.
That’s sort of how I feel about summer in general. We’re on a bit of a collision course. I was born in the summer. It’s my favorite season too. I think of it like calmer seas as far as the eye can see. Spring is frenetic and transitional here. Maybe it was different when I was little, but it’s either the New England norm, or climate change, to be undeniably ridiculous here until those late June skies. In the “old days”, I struggled with the end of the school year. It’s like it reached my stomach – as a storm – to wrap my head, heart, and whole being around so many endings and beginnings, that actually don’t have anything to do with me. They’re my kids’ lives to live. Like friends coming and going, emptying out the desks and lockers, and teachers then and now.
Flee from me, keepers of the gloom
Speak to me only with your eyes
It is to you I give this tune
Ain’t so hard to recognize, oh
These things are clear to all from time to time, ooh”
My kids mostly cry on the last day of school. It’s hard to say goodbye. At the end of last year, Scarlet and Des were depressed for various reasons. They both had had the kind of teacher that stays with you for life. The tears usually fade around the same time that my stomach’s butterflies start to settle. Summer is immense and wondrous and possible. Camp is always amazing. I work and do camp pickup and drop-off and celebrate Scarlet’s birthday – which is the birthday of my motherhood – plus my own birthday. There is usually some sort of travel – and it’s the kind of travel that you are nearly nostalgic for as it’s happening. Pre-nostalgia. And sure enough, your instincts are always right. You find yourself longing for those easier, brighter, and longer days.
School is supposed to end in the warmth – it’s what keeps you glowing and growing. Outgrown sweaters and old lunches. Textbooks and papers. Temporary goodbyes and sad ones too. Graduations and endings that are beginnings. You want to hang on, but you also want to let go.
Summer shouldn’t start in winter – with mismatched mittens and hats hanging desperately on hooks – untouched for one, then two, and soon three months. The day Cassidy and the kids emptied their backpacks for the school year – in APRIL this year – I did this thing I do. I can make myself fall asleep – to sleep off sadness and illness. Maybe it’s a superpower and maybe it’s a curse, but I wanted no part of this weird and premature ritual. I slept to forget what’s still lost.
Hey, I felt the coldness of my winter
I never thought it would ever go
I cursed the gloom that set upon us, ‘pon us, ‘pon us, ‘pon us
But I know that I love you so
Oh, but I know
That I love you so.”
I could tell you that the best parts of summer are the ways in which the living is easier. Summer nights and rocking chairs. Air-conditioned movie movie theaters, shooting stars, and toasted marshmallows by firelight. I could tell you that the worst parts of summer are the discomforts – like mosquitoes and ticks – humidity hair and your legs sticking to the car seat. It runs deeper than that, though. It’s the collision courses. The best and worst parts of summer are faith and love and loss and grief. What’s been lost, what’s been found, and all the strange transitions and the glowing growing in between. How we can be so ok when we’ve lost so much. How we can be so sure and trusting of summer’s touch. Surely, we’ll find our way back again into the fold.
The best thing about summer is the collision courses of faith and love and loss and grief, and magic too. Summer chases away the last of the cold darkness – you thought would never go.
And like the wind, they rise and fall
This is the wonder of devotion
I see the torch
We all must hold
This is the mystery of the quotient, quotient
Upon us all, upon us all a little rain must fall”
I’m linking up with Finish The Sentence Friday (FTSF) for a new prompt. This week’s awesome new topic is “The Best (or Worst) Part About Summer Is..” You can link up your own post HERE.