I have a whole bunch of things swirling around in this brain of mine right now, and it's making me sort of dizzy. Chalk it up to a rough time of year, or a seasonal change, or exposure to too many fluorescent lights, or coming down off the "high" of a long weekend vacation, but whatever it is, it feels...unsettled. This blog has always been a great way for me to at least put a finger on "the thing," but I'm also inspired today by a professional book study in which I'm participating. Ms. Super Teacher who wrote the book talks some smack about how she's Queen of Teaching Writing and also finds time in her day to write for at least fifteen minutes daily. I might not be able to publish a book and tell everyone I know the right way to teach writing, but I can at least sit my butt down here for a few minutes a day (aaackkk!) and get something flowing. Maybe. It might not be pleasant, but maybe it will be good anyway.
So, it's fall. Officially. And I don't really hate fall...I don't. But it makes me very sad. As if the leaves turning brown and the flowers dying weren't enough to do that, this time of year will always and forever be The Time of Year In Which Edna Died. There's nothing I can do about that. But on beautiful afternoons like today, on which the sun is shining and the air is warm, I will always, always, ALWAYS feel that there is something ugly and catastrophic waiting just around the corner. There were many afternoons like this one that I spent in the car on the way to the hospital or my parents' house after school. I'd be listening to Rick Springfield sing about being "one passenger" on the train of life, or about time standing still, or many of the other songs on that particular album that seemed to be so apropos at the time, and I would have to pull over and cry. There was, and is, something about the grief that I was already feeling even before her death and the striking beauty of the colors and the angle of the sun and the music...and I would be overwhelmed. And then I would have to collect myself, fix my face, and go and be the strong one who handled things and pretended it would all be okay.
And my birthday approaches. I never was big on birthdays--even the monumental ones, like 16, 18, and 21, were always sort of awful. 41 is not good. I don't like it, and we are not friends. I'm staring down the barrel of my child-bearing years being over, when they never really started. I'm looking at wrinkles and crows' feet around my eyes. I'm listening to creaky knees and adjusting to being old enough to be Big Time Rush's mom. I'm sure this is probably as much to do with my character and personality as anything, but birthdays have always sucked. At the risk of sounding like Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles, it has just always felt like an anti-climactic bunch of nothing. No one asks me what I want to do, or what I want...and when they do, I can't even tell them, because I don't want to do anything, nor is there anything I want. But then I get upset when they listen and I'm nonplussed. Edna was the only person that ever did my birthday right, ever. And she did it without asking, which is amazing.
We did just return from a fabulous three-day beach trip, and I'm grateful for that. But, of course, it also has its flip side, which is that I'm really sort of angry that this is the first time we've been since 2009. We should have been going all along, and seeing the absolute joy on Andrew's face as he played in the surf, or ran around the very windy beach with a beach towel flapping out behind him as he pretended to fly like a superhero really makes me wish we had. I love the lake, and our days there far outnumber any beach vacations we would have taken. But having and maintaining a place there (humble though it is) takes our resources--both money and time--and there simply isn't enough of either to go around. My dad talks about the memories Andrew will have of the lake for a lifetime, and he equates it to his own childhood memories of spending summers on the Jersey Shore with his extended family...and I WANT Andrew to have that, I do. But I also want him to have other experiences, so at some point, I guess we're going to have to examine the issue and decide what's more important. Ugh.
Ah, well. In the words of Scarlett O'Hara, "Tomorrow is another day."