Monday, August 23, 2010

Peoples Wakin' Up!

One of my son's favorite thing to say is Mommy wakin' up!  He says it with such cheer in his voice, usually as he peels my eyelids apart.  It's not just Mommy, it's Daddy wakin' up! and Elephant wakin' up! and Baby wakin' up!  We went to a playground the other day where a tired mom was resting her eyes for a minute or so sitting on the bench while her children climbed and chased each other.  As soon as she opened them, my son loudly announced:  Peoples wakin' up!

And I guess he's right, at this point in the year when the mornings and evenings begin to turn crisp and the nights have a chill to the air that makes the fan unnecessary.  Peoples wakin' up in our house, and I'm torn between two endings for this sentence.  The first being: albeit reluctantly, and the second being: and it's about time.  I feel both ways.

I registered for the annual fall conference for my job the other day, and there was something about filling in little squares on my desktop calendar and e-mailing agendas chock full of important items to be tended to in the getting-nearer future that began to caffeinate my brain.  I have to admit, it felt good to be engaged and alert, excited about everything coming up, and raring to go.

But there's a real sadness in saying goodbye to this summer too.  I think it's been the nicest summer of my life.  There's something magical about simply surrendering to the pace and whimsy of a child, and letting go of any other preconceived notions of what to do.  We just took care of our baby this summer, didn't really try to do much else, and it was the most fun we've had in I don't know how long.  I saw a side of my husband I rarely get to see: the stress-free side.  He was silly and lazy, and often downright ridiculous, and we laughed and played and ate and slept, and that's about all we did.  I've already decided that next summer I'll only work Tuesdays through Thursdays and take four day weekends all summer long.  Ah, the lovely benefits of a flexible schedule!

We took a long drive through farmland southwest of the city the other day, past fields of cattle and orchards preparing for an early season of apple picking this year.  It was just cool enough to drive with the windows open and forgo air conditioning, and we talked about the fall, and the changes fast approaching.  I was a little worried after seeing my husband so relaxed all summer long, that going back to a busy schedule would be hard on him.  But he's starting his first year with tenure, and a classroom renovation finally complete after three years (his entire teaching career!) of working in a work-in-progress.  He told me he's excited, and feels confident and prepared.  This is a nice change from past years, when he's usually beating himself up at this point for failing to spend the whole summer preparing.  (But c'mon now, WHO DOES THAT?  Summers are for slacking, I try to tell him, and he admits it's true in the abstract, but the man holds himself to high standards.  Fortunately, this summer he decided to let his standards spend a few months visiting mine.  We haven't seen them much at all, as I like to keep them locked in the basement.)

My sister's getting married this coming weekend.  My son will be ring bearer and I'll give a toast and my husband will take photographs.  We have new outfits, and an old friend taking the train in on Thursday to join us for the drive to Connecticut on Friday.  We've been deep cleaning the house in hopes that we can come back to some semblance of organization and enjoy the last week of the summer simply maintaining rather than rearranging things in a panic as we face the fact that this sweet, sweet summer is coming to an end.

Every night as I snuggle down in bed with a novel and the two quilts I need to stay warm over the past week or so --one made for my husband when he was a small child by his grandmother, and one made by mine out of fabric scraps leftover from bridesmaid's dresses from my mother's wedding to my father, thirty-some years ago-- my baby girl begins to kick.  I pull my body pillow into my belly, and tuck it under just so, giving her a comfy place to rest, and I smile as she flails away in there, like a baby boxer landing blows that can't hurt anybody just yet.

There's fall, and then there's winter just dawning, and then there's her.  And then I haven't the foggiest, because I'll have to get to know her, like I've spent the last two years getting to know my boy.  But if there are more summers like this one lurking up ahead, and I certainly hope there are, it's just hard to believe that life could ever be anything but just fine.

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