Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Late Summer

It's summertime and the livin' is frantic.

So, it is late August. Typically, I don't even know what month it is, but I do know that my mother's birthday is tomorrow, so it must be late August. She complains about how hot her birthday is every single year and, sometimes, she just gives up and celebrates an unbirthday in October instead. (I don't know, it sounds like a good idea to me.) Anyway, it is late August and this time of year two opposing forces battle for supremacy in every heart; a desire to make the most of the summer left and a desire to launch fully into fall. And they are powerful forces, make no mistake about that.

No matter how gloriously long your summer has been, you hate to see it slip away. You hate to see the long sunny days ending just a little earlier. You hate to put down the trashy books you have been reading on the beach. You hate to dock the boat for good. You feel the loss of all that freedom as keenly as any 10 year old, even if you weren't particularly free. And if you are awkward, you hate to see that pool pass you spent so much on slip away with so little use.

However, you also rejoice in the cool fall breezes that start to sneak in at sunset. You start to dream about hot chocolate and pumpkins and Halloween. You might also start to worry about why your child suddenly wants to go trick-or-treating as a half-ninja-half-cyborg-with-radioactive-powers-from-outer-space and how one goes about making that. But mostly, fall prep is worry free; you start to gleefully put school activities on your calendar and arrange car pools, and it is fun....for now. And I don't care if you have school age kids or not, if you even have kids, if you even like kids; there is no one on earth who is immune to the lure of new school supplies.

New school supplies are the ace up fall's sleeve. Summer's got long rambling days full of warmth and adventure. Summer's got pools and water slides and vacations and endless fun. Summer's the popular kid of the seasons, it's true. But fall's got new crayons. Is there anything more potentially possible and full of hope than new crayons? Nope. There is not. Crayons are a Royal Flush, dear Readers, and nothing beats that. OK, well, except maybe Christmas, but that is a whole different post. (I don't really play poker, is there something higher than a royal flush?)

Fall dreaming is very powerful and usually the winner in the Awkward household. Typically, I give in to fall around the fourth of July. You know, when the school supplies start popping up in the stores. I don't much care for heat; I sweat a little too easily and do NOT look good in a bikini. I have always been a bit of a nerd (I know, huge shock), so the return to school was always much anticipated. The summer is OK, but apple picking, sweaters, and the delightful bustling nature of fall is where my heart is home. But not this year.

Don't get me wrong, I am still totally fiending for fall. But I have children now. Children who love the long loose days of summer. Children who are too young to be longing for fall. Children who don't have a very solid grip on time or the fact that Halloween isn't 31 days long. (Although, to be fair, some stores don't understand that one either.) Children who still love all the seasons equally. Children who lost a good 2 weeks of summer to Hand, Foot, and Mouth earlier this August (ugh, post coming on that one. I'm not ready, it's still too soon.) Children who live in the moment, and every moment is the best moment ever.

Of course, isn't that all children? They play until they drop. They sleep like they are in comas. Everything they do is what they do, they aren't making shopping lists in their minds or dreaming of some far off pleasure. They infuse every minute of their lives with boundless passion, and yes, sometimes that boundless passion takes the form of a tantrum that stops traffic. But I am talking about the good kind. Their delight in chasing fireflies that ranks up there with Christmas morning. Their joy at holding your hand which rivals their birthday party. Let them crack the eggs for the plain old box cake you are making and watch a reaction similar to the one when you go to Disneyland for the first time. Children are here. Right here.

And right here, Labor Day hasn't happened yet. School hasn't started here. And here, it is 80 degrees today with a humidity rate of 73%. It is still summer here. And I have decided to embrace that this year. I am gonna enjoy summer (and that expiring pool pass) every single moment I have left with it. Labor Day and beyond. I will stop the second I drop Super Preschooler off at Preschool or maybe the day before, you know, just to ease in to it a bit. But my point (I do have one, I swear) is that Summer and Fall can both win. You just need to be more childlike about it.

Because the ugly truth is that children come into life with boundless passion and an innate ability to enjoy the moment, and then we adults rip it right out of them. We have such good intentions. We want them to understand how exciting Christmas can be, how fun the weekend feels. We long for them to know how much we love them and so we celebrate the heck out of the day they were born, with tons of lead-up to it. We are teaching them important life lessons; it is good to have delayed gratification. It is good to have dreams and understand that good things take time. Not every day is a party.

Although, is that really true? Everyday could be a party. And I don't mean, balloons and cake and gifts and all that. Well, no, I kinda do. Life is a gift, isn't it? (Ugh, cheesetastic, Awkward Mom! Do you write for Hallmark all of a sudden?) But I am serious. How do you feel at a party? And I am not talking about that stressed out, will there be enough beer, did I remember to bring the gluten-free cookies for Aunt Hilda, is the bathroom clean enough, what if I get stuck talking to Dave from accounting, nervous feeling that adult-you now has before a party. I am talking about fun, relaxed, grateful to be enjoying people you love, eating a cookie feeling. That could happen every day. As the Mad Hatter says, "Today is my unbirthday! Pass me some of that doormouse tea!"

OK, well, it was something like that at least. Today is your unbirthday! Well, unless it is your actual birthday, and in that case, Happy Birthday, Reader! (P.S. Happy Birthday a day early to my mom if you ever figure out how to read my blog!) And if it isn't your birthday, Happy Unbirthday! If you don't know how to celebrate your unbirthday, go find a child, they will show you, lickity-split. And since we are celebrating life today, I wish you a Happy Summer! And a Happy Almost Fall! I am heading off to the pool; catch ya later, Readers!

We are summer cramming around here. Every day at the pool. Every day a new adventure. And next week? Next week we are taking our first family vacation. Ever. Awkward Dad's birthday is Labor Day this year, Readers. And he has a whole week off! We are gonna ring in his 35th year in style. Opps. Ummm...don't tell him that I told you how old he is, OK? Anyway, let the summer cramming begin!

Super Toddler knows that the best way to leave the summer is to be dragged, kicking and screaming, away from it:

Or he really wants to be in the Knights of Columbus...


  1. I'm so excited for you to go on your first vacation!! And good luck with that:) I don't mind the fall coming but I wish we could skip winter altogether (But keep Christmas)!! I really do not like the snow! Can't you say I'm from Russia? :)

    1. I've got my fingers crossed for you, but I have a feeling that winter is still coming at some point. :)

      I am really excited about our vacation. A little nervous. But mostly excited! Thanks!

  2. I totally ogled the school supplies yesterday at Target!! There is no smell on earth like that of crayons, and there is no brand of crayon that can hold a candle to Crayola.

    Way to suck the marrow out of summer, Awkward Mom! I hope your first family vacation is terrific! We've never done any such thing, either, so please give us a full report! :)

    1. Crayola crayons. There really aren't enough adjectives.

      I will let you know how the vacations goes, if I had to guess I would say awkward. But there is always hope! :)