So long, summer

There is a melancholy sentiment to the changing of the seasons.

I think we all feel it, like a physical memory from childhood. The minute the school bell rings, you remember that flutter feeling in your gut that something beautiful has just ended and something uncertain, but also full of potential, is about to begin.

I will remember the summer of 2012 as the first time all the muck and mire of the early years of parenthood started to pay off. I take note of it because I am fully aware this is the calm before the next storm – teenage years. The only way to survive either is to appreciate both.

There were many magical moments where I saw my kids become who they are meant to be: the soul that is totally unique and independent of mine, doing things I would never dare to do and succeeding beyond my expectations. 

My work schedule meant the children spent more quality time with their grandparents. I know how precious that is and I think my children do too. That’s growing up.

There were summer camps, new sports, triumphs, new friends and adventures away from home.

When the kids didn’t look back to see if I was watching, it wasn’t sad for me at all. It was like a giant exhale of more than 12 years of holding my breath. It turns out the baby birds really can fly, if you let them try.

This season began with my kick-in-the-pants reminder that health only happens when you work with your body and not against it. I almost kicked my chips and dip addiction. Almost.

I was moving slow in May and ready to run by August. No one should ever doubt the miracle that is his or her own body.

In many ways, I feel like I settled into my bones a little softer and kinder. I practiced patience. I stretched self-acceptance.

In July I let go of the lead line. I repeated lessons to learn them again. I made fewer lists. I let time pass. I loved in silence. I apologized less and healed faster. I observed without comment. I laughed so hard I did pee my pants. I didn’t care. I packed accordingly.

I got out of the air conditioning and into the air.

I turned off the television. I turned on the radio, as loud as it would go. I reunited with old friends and stayed up too late. I slept in. Heaven. I said goodbye and embraced hello.

In August, I drank tea with an old friend celebrating five years cancer-free, and I cried in my car for someone I barely know who faces the disease head-on in the weeks ahead. Either way, I know that there where there is darkness there is also light. That’s all I need to know.

I had friends who said, “I do” and friends who said “I don’t” and I was happy for them both. Sometimes love means happily ever after, and sometimes you need to remember to love yourself first so you can walk away.

I took the time (as opposed to made the time) to sit and read, enjoy a glass of wine in lieu of housework and stared up at the lazy clouds.

I spent less time on philosophy and more time philosophizing. I forgave and moved forward. I passed the buck but made change.

I’m so glad I paid attention.



Kelly Waterhouse