For staff, school starts tomorrow. Between my own education, selling college textbooks, raising my children, and being a parapro, I have lived my life on an academic schedule, every single year since I was 5 years old. Think of that. Fifty-six years of summers. Some years have been joyous and productive, some not so much. Sort of like all of my falls, winters and springs.
This was a good one; in fact one of my best. Why? I thought you’d never ask
- I started with a wonderful weekend in beautiful Bluffton, South Carolina, visiting good friends and dreaming of building our own home there. I feel like a little kid, looking at house plans and dreaming of all the cool things we can put in our retirement home. A distant, golden future, but a dream on the radar at last.
- One of the greatest feelings I have is being useful, and I definitely made a difference in Connecticut. We moved my mother-in-law into her new apartment, and though it was really stressful, she and I had a chance to renew our relationship. I was able to love her without reservation after years of tension, and I know it helped her get through a difficult time. The trip also included breakfast with my sister-in-law, niece, and a nephew we haven’t seen in ten years.
- A weekend up to Nashville to visit our daughter-in-law that gave me three days of friendship building with her mother. We are so blessed, beyond any hope we could ever have had, that our son has such wonderful in-laws. Our children thought that we would be great friends, and they were so right.
- The wedding of a young man who has been as close to us as family, best friends with our son since they were babies. His parents are the kind of friends you share holidays and vacations with, so this was a highlight, not only of the summer, but of our lives.
- A long lunch with my college roommate that took us back to those halcyon days when we couldn’t stop talking. There was too much to say and we were almost panicky that there wouldn’t be enough time to get it all in. You know what? These days we are right. In the present time, when we part, it may be as long as a year before we see each other, but we always pick up right where we left off, talking as fast as we can to cover it all.
- A long lunch with my best friend since we were twelve, fifty years in September. That’s an anniversary, isn’t it? I do talk to her on a fairly regular basis, yet those conversations are always an hour long or more. What do we talk about? Anything and everything. Everyone should have such a friend.
- I have reconnected with a sorority sister with whom I now have regular conversations. She is cancer-free after a nasty battle with breast cancer, and a total inspiration with her attitude and determination. We didn’t get the lunch I had hoped for, but that is something to look forward to in the not-to-distant future.
- Lots of long conversations with my son. Circumstances have resulted in him living with us for the last couple of years, but this summer he has sought out my company to talk about everything from philosophy to history to religion. He is thoughtful and intelligent, and he taught me a lot. I like to think I offered him a perspective from the other side of life, having experienced many things that are still in his future.
- Fourth of July with friends with whom we usually spend New Year’s Eve, but missed in 2020 thanks to Covid. They are new grandparents, and what a joy for us to share their happiness. The father of the baby? Our friend was pregnant with him when we met them.
- Reconnecting with a childhood friend whom I haven’t seen or spoken with since we were nine or so, thanks to Facebook. Turns out we have as much in common in adulthood as we did in childhood. The blessings of her memories, many of which had vanished into the mists of time for me, came with the additional blessing of knowing that I meant as much to her as she meant to me.
- A 37th anniversary dinner with my husband, the love of my life for forty-two years.
- Another trip to Nashville, this time with my sister. She and I have had a fair amount of stress in our relationship in the last few years, and two days with her, visiting our neighbor who held it together for us when our family was falling apart and having a great dinner with our daughter-in-law, was a pure joy.
Writing? Well, not as much as I hoped, but that’s okay. I’ll make it up in the weeks to come. I do think I’ve solved a writer’s block problem, so hopefully I’ll move a lot faster going forward.
Notice how many of these joys included a meal. Weight loss was NOT one of my accomplishments this summer. Oh, well. This is not my first summer for that particular fact.
A wonderful happy summer. Looking at the highlights reveals the reasons why. Family and friends. I have to admit that I have not always made them a priority for my summer breaks. Maybe this means I’m getting wiser as I get older.
I go into the new school year with a renewed appreciation for the blessings of my life. Which include, by the way, a job I love with co-workers I call good friends.
I’m sure you have your own joys to celebrate. If you care to share, I’d love to read them in the comments.