Friday, July 11, 2008

Half-Time, Summertime by Barb McKone

Half-Time, Summertime  by Barb McKone

It's half-time.  Post July 4th, the summer zooming by, time to sit still for a moment and make a list of all the things we swore we'd do this special season that are not yet blips on our summertime radar screens.  Basically, it's time to edit. 

Our household is run on the school calendar.  My husband is a teacher/administrator, so (even though he works all summer) we plan our entire year around the September- June rotation.   I start dreaming of summer plans before I Christmas shop.  Long, glorious lazy summer afternoons lying by the pool in the sun with a good book and my kids, followed by evenings of local theater or strolling around our adorable little town, meeting friends for drinks or hosting teenagers in my home.  Tons of family time- wonderful dinners on the deck, stories of the day, lots of laughs.  Gardens filled with flowers long and strong enough to cut for beautiful arrangements around the house, and the fruits of summer baked into delicious pies on my kitchen counter. In my summer plans I'm a combination of Martha Stewart (minus the jumpsuit), Reese Witherspoon (minus the divorce) with her golden hair, chic summer style and seemingly effortless parenting, and my old New  Yorker self, with endless time (pre-kids) to wander through summer nights with my best friends.  
Now, we're at half-time.  No marching bands, no cheerleaders or wardrobe malfunctions. (Well, maybe a couple I'd at least re-think...)  Just me and the calendar, sparring for position in the second half.  Me battling me, my own worst enemy.  Reality is a nasty thing, isn't it? 

Half time is when I look at what's been accomplished and what I still want to do.  The truth burns deeper than the sunburn I haven't been outside long enough yet to get.  I find I have quite a list. 

First off, I need sleep.  My daughter has been home for three hours this summer.  Yes, she was with us at our family reunion, a point she has brought up repeatedly over the past several days, but honestly, I'm TIRED.  I can't seem to go to sleep before she gets home (one a.m. curfew) and I still feel the need to get up when she and my husband are heading to work (7:30 a.m.). My daughter is terribly frustrated with her summer so far- working so full-time (her choice, now re-thinking) that she hasn't been to our local pool more than once.  We have an unexpected teenaged house guest who is spending more time relaxing with our family than she is, sleeping in until all hours in our basement (should I wake her for lunch?), which only adds to my daughter's general "I'm missing out on everything" anxiety.  She's leaving for college in five weeks, one week of which will be spent on a family vacation, and is going through that desperate last-chance-to-see-my-friends-before-this-life-changing-experience time.  I remember it.  I understand it.  I just hope that I can live through it without falling asleep at the wheel while driving right past the pool I planned to laze in on my way to buy the fruit that will sit on my counter instead of being baked into delicious pies.  You get the picture.

The stack of summer reading books lie in wait.  They taunt me.  By now their pages should be smudged with suntan oil- oops, sorry- #45 sunscreen from my tanned fingers.  One thick tome still has the Barnes and Noble receipt sticking out between the pages.  I promise them daily, as I pass them to drive to work or tennis camp, that I will be back to crack them open.  Next week looks promising...

The three theater productions I wanted to see this summer are already closed.  One was the first week of summer- a lousy trick to play on those of us dealing with high school graduations.  The second got such bad reviews I decided to concentrate on getting ready for the family reunion instead of bucking up for the tickets.  The last I just couldn't seem to get to.  I drive past our local park where the marquis lit the title for at least three weeks-- and before I knew it, it was gone.  Never to be attended by my happy family in sunny summer attire after a delightful picnic in the park.  I will see a musical before the end of the season, dammit, and my family will sing along to the CD through our vacation.  We will!! 

Okay.  I now look over my summer plans and revise.  Time to get realistic and cut the plans in half.  Roll with it.  Here's the good news:

My gardens are beautiful, thanks to the hardiness of perennials.   Love those shasta daisies!! 

My son is a driver's ed' dream.  By the end of the summer, he'll be the best non-licensed driver in the 10th grade.  I sit in my passenger's seat, calm and cool.  I am the sensai of home driving school.

I still have plenty of time for deck entertaining, and my yard is looking decent.  It looks better at night.  I will have night parties with smart friends and lively conversation.  I will find the cute polka-dotted summer plates hiding in my basement somewhere, and serve pretty summer food on them. Fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, you have plenty of time to be served.

I'm quite sure there is plenty of summer theater still to be seen.  I'll just revise my play list.

The pool is now officially warmed up.  Others are now on their summer vacations, so there will be plenty of room for me.  I haven't gotten much sun, but I've discovered that Coppertone's gradual self-tanner is so subtle that I don't get those icky fake-tan lines on my feet.  Good find!

The summer movies are decent this year.  Loved "Iron Man."  Indy is looking old, but he's still hot.  No Nazis this time, but one bad Russian.  I'll see it again in when it gets hotter.   Can't wait for "Mamma Mia!"

Intended-pie fruit makes great smoothies. 

Best of all, our family vacation, although shrinking in length due to my daughter's stress and my husband's algebra and differential equations tutoring skills, is on.  It will be wonderful- crab by the bagful on the beach in Chincoteague, one last visit to Yankee Stadium, and a reunion with my husband's family in beautiful, breezy upstate New York.   And, while my kids are bugging each other (some things never change) and watching "She's The Man" and "Nacho Libre" for the hundredth time in the back seat of the car, I'll be reading my poor neglected summer books in the front.  I can't wait!!

So, I revise.  I can't do anything about my kids' growing up and making less time for me or "The Producers" having moved on to another town, but I can slap on a tan, host a party or two, and go to the pool.  Which I'm leaving to do... right NOW.


Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Love your revised list . . . I need to start working on mine, now.

Daisy said...

I hear you. I'm a teacher, so we try to pile in a full year's worth of relaxation and appointments in 10 weeks. It doesn't quite work. At my "halftime" show, I had a moment of panic that sent me to the phone with the calendar to attempt getting teeth cleaned, orthotics updated, eyes checked, etc. Calgon, take me away!

Sleeping with Ward Cleaver said...

Oh, it's so true isn't it? Do you suppose anyone actually fulfills much of their grandiose summer plans?It never fails that I feel as if I have failed myself and all of us with how little we do get to.
And of course now with the kids' schedules downright aggressive, and the fact that half of them don't awaken till 2 pm (which works out well when you're up till 2:30 in the morning), who does get anything done together.
The trail of dirty dishes, clothes, socks, wet towels, crumbs on counter tops, etc etc etc is the only evidence of a family's presence around here, half the time. And that getting woken up when the kids get home sure wreaks havoc on one's beauty sleep...