It’s August 10th, and summer is not slowing down or cooling down. This is always the time of year when I’m both sad that the school year looms ahead and I’m also losing my mind because summer is not slowing down or cooling down.
I’m frantically creating memories for my rapidly growing children while barking at my husband because he had the audacity to ask me about clean clothes for the work week at 10 o’clock last night.
I’m paying too much for a bagged lunch at theater camp for my eldest daughter because grocery shopping is way beyond me some days.
I’m emailing 10 people as fast as I can so I can gather resources for a work story.
I’m canceling a fun coffee with a friend, because WORK!
And I’m dog sitting and cat sitting and fish sitting and snake sitting. OMG, I’m snake sitting and the temperature gauge keeps going too high and then too low and I don’t want to kill my young friend’s snake that I REFUSE TO TOUCH!
Mostly, though,I’m trying to breathe myself through very sad news in the middle of a very happy summer. Last week a friend lost her 3-year-long batter with cancer. I keep telling people about her and then I keep wanting to interrupt them as they offer me condolences. Which feels ridiculous and true because she wasn’t my closest friend. This clearly harkens back to when my close friend Cathy died from cancer when I was in the 8th grade. As I drove to the funeral with my Girl Scout troop, a friend said another girl has said Cathy was her best friend. My Girl Scout leader said, “We all know who Cathy’s best friend was.”
I so needed to hear that, and I so need to say right now that a death in a community touches everyone, best friends and acquaintances, too. My friend who died last week was someone I talked to as I walked from my car to school to pick up my kids. We didn’t go out for coffee or belong to a book group together or vacation together. But every time I saw her, we dived down deep and we only talked about the real stuff: parenting, friendship, her cancer. Every time I saw her after she was diagnosed, I would ask how she was and she would tell me exactly how she was, how cancer treatment was going, how parenting was going. It was clear to me she was doing exactly what she needed to do to spend another day in the room with her kids.
Her death last week slayed me. She doesn’t get to spend another day with her kids. And I’m tired and worn out from the fullness of summer and I’m not always the best parent. But I’m in the room with my kids.
I went to the Taylor Swift concert right after I attended my friend’s funeral. I was a mess and I was also clearly ecstatic to be with my teen at this epic event. When the show started after hours of waiting, I couldn’t hold back. Tears streamed down my face. Goodness, I tried not to sob. I didn’t look at my teen until I thought maybe if she was looking at me I should explain the tears streaming down my face. I was so sad for my friend and so happy for me, so filled with the luck and wonder of being with my daughter at this event. I turned to KK and said, “I’m sobbing because I am so happy right now. The funeral today was so sad, and I feel so lucky right now.”
This is what it’s like to be my kid. You get the sobbing mom at the Taylor Swift concert. She just shrugged her shoulders and said she knew. And then I looked up at the evening sky and said a prayer for my friend along with a huge sigh of gratitude.
I’m full of summer. All of it.