By Jen Rouse
The Short Years
Summer days. . . They’re passing in a blur, and I can’t believe it’s one week into July already. Every year, I feel this way. Summer seems to be this unattainable thing, something we’re reaching for all the time, and then it arrives and then we blink and it’s gone.
Our days are full and empty at the same time. I would post a picture of all the things we’ve been doing, except that I’ve been too busy DOING things to even be taking pictures of them. All these things that we’ve been spending hours and hours on: standing in dusty fields, filling our buckets (and bellies) with berries; long hours at the parks, visiting with friends; backyard barbecues and plates full of hot dogs and watermelon and ice cream; these things are not urgent. No terrible consequence will befall us if we miss them. And neither are they important in the big meaning-of-life sense of the word; when I get to the end of my days, will these days of sunshine and conversation stand out as profound and life-changing to me? Probably not.
But they’re good, these summer days. Lately I’m feeling guilty about just how good I have it, with this stay-at-home mom gig; my husband goes and sits in an office all day so that I can pick berries and have playdates and go to the library. And sure, inbetween times I make dinner and fold laundry and wipe up poop, but still, I consider myself lucky. You just have to look at the two of us to see which one is getting the better deal right now. Even though I spray myself with my kids’ 50 SPF sunscreen ever day, I am SO much more tan than he is.
Things might not be like this forever. Some day, I may return to the working world. But I’m not thinking about that yet. For now, my days are full. Full of highly important things like making sun tea and weeding the garden and helping Beth climb the big rock at the park. Making jam and reading to the kids and pushing them on the swings. We’re always busy and never busy, all at the same time.
It’s summer. I’m enjoying it while I can.