Good bye, good bye, gooood bye July! I couldn’t be happier to see you go. Although I had three birthday wishes to send along and there are countless other happy moments that occurred, July always catches me off guard. It’s that last little shove that causes me to skin my knees but I can’t seem to ever call foul on it in the otherwise fun spirited game.
People in the south say it’s the heat – it drives us all a little crazy and we forgive each other our trespasses as they occur knowing full well another’s poor manners or general distempered state could easily be our own on any given moment. But it’s more than that. July seems to suspend me in the heat and humidity along with the collective remembrance of another school year upon us.
As we prepare for the onslaught there are tasks big and small to accomplish, some of which I started last month. I attacked the kids’ closets with equal parts fervor and indifference. On the one hand I was ready to get rid of all the things they’d grown out of, worn out or never even taken off the hangers. For the first time though, I was ready to let it go without feeling attached to who I was when I first hung those items – a rarity for me, as the envisioning is my favorite part. I remember setting up the closets for both girls, filling it first with onesies and rompers, then character tees and frilly dresses (just for pictures!) and finally with clothes that would accommodate for a potty trained sidekick. Taking the clothes out (an activity that I have dubbed the Great American Closet Clean Out, which despite its patriotic name garners a very low attendance even in an election year) used to leave me tearful. I would think of all the moments our kids shone in those clothes and how lucky they were to have so many options. When items had made their way to Little Sister and were on their way out of our doors, I would feel sheepishly sad, knowing that was the last time I would see them on the kids and I’d wondered if I should have taken more pictures. That me would be horrified by my learned efficiency of today. Ruthlessly I haul it out and pass it along to other families or Goodwill, knowing someone will delight in what they find. That’s enough for me now.
The smaller tasks, like buying school supplies and making sure there are sharpened pencils and available workspaces at home too got handled today. I took the time to sort through the flotsam of our side kitchen counter, sifting through the shipwreck that was only months ago so well organized. I boxed up the returns I hadn’t got around to returning, I piled up library books and movies that approached their return dates (and let’s be honest, eclipsed them by maybe a week). Then somehow it was noon.
My morning had escaped me into the black hole that is chores and instead of pressing pause; I went ahead and threw the baby out with the bathwater by deciding to actually make those returns (both to the stores and libraries). An hour later and on our last stop, I had made it through the checkout line with two tired kids and a cartful of everything I came for besides eggs. As I debated making a run for it, I flashed forward to tomorrow morning and saw myself shaking my head at the idea of popping out for one item. So I turned around and went back for the eggs, irritated that I hadn’t scooped them up on the first pass. I thought of how annoying it was that I would have to get back in line for two items after I had already done it once. A woman had her cart right next to ours, loaded with cheese platters and fresh sliced fruit. I joked that we should be hanging out at her house. She beamed and said, “my best friend is getting married today”.
And that is all it took for me to get the bleep over myself. My day, where I ran around (not on the bus, or actually running, but in my car, that I own and has air conditioning) seemed like such a pain only moments ago. I couldn’t wait to finish out the chores, put away the laundry and hopefully catch up on “Scandal” on Netflix. While I was rushing through it, there were people who had waited a lifetime for today. They were getting married, or having a baby, or graduating, or coming home from overseas. I thought about people who had waited to take a vacation or show their art or cheat death. Today, hot as it was, belonged to none of us. It was on loan and up to each of us to make of it what we would. As I put all of my eggs in one basket, there was a peace that came with that lesson, and I sincerely wished the woman’s friend a lifetime of happiness.