Lately we have had a serious case of overwhelm going on in the house. Our big boy was sick with what the doctor said they would have called mono if he were 13 not 10. He was completely lethargic and feverish for almost a full week. We have had a string of days feeling like we were spending all our time until 1:30 preparing and serving and cleaning up after breakfast and lunch. There have been about 2 nights all summer that every creature in this house has stayed in his or her designated place until 7 a.m.
So it occurred to me that maybe the person who came up with this retail concept of Christmas in July had the idea not just because they hoped to replicate Christmas style spending but because they were a parent noticing that these supposed lazy days of summer are anything but.
The moon last night rising up so orange and full opposed to the fireworks offered a vivid image of the fullness of these days. Reminded me to be grateful that this is likely as full as they will get, that things will start to wane and be more manageable with every passing day. And that any day of being home and overwhelmed beats sitting in an artificially freezing office wondering what my kids are doing. That is my Christmas in July and it keeps on giving.
I saw that cute slogan on a sign recently in a catalog or something, maybe Uncommon Goods. At the time we did not yet have a dog, probably weren’t even considering it. But it stuck with me nonetheless.
I often think in song titles, mini-mantras from pop music. “All you need is love” is a big one, “love is the answer” is another facial epiphany. I have one of those brains that recalls song lyrics exceptionally well. Sometimes I joke that I can come up with either a children’s song or a Sex in the City episode or both that is applicable to any situation. Try me.
The thing about “all you need is love . . . and a dog” that strikes me so funny now is that our family went so quickly from totally not getting why anyone would want a dog to going gaga over our own puppy. It reminds me of this philosophy course in college, I think about Heidegger. Of course I never actually completed a reading assignment, but what I remember of it from class illustrates our dogmatic paradigm shift – that when scientists change their minds about theory, or families change their minds about getting a dog in this case, they do so quickly, without careful analysis but in a sudden shift.
At the time I did not want to believe this was true. It didn’t seem responsible of the adult world to just up and change without a pro and con list. But now I see that this is the nature of things, of life. Things change. They fall apart and then they come back together again. Put another way, s**t happens and then you die. You can accept it or fight it, go with the flow or against it. The choice is yours.
Today is the Summer Solstice in our little hemisphere of this earth. The longest day of the year.
I started the day at 6:30 this morning when the new puppy cried to be free from his crate. Although I was groggy at first I was proud of him for making it until that respectable hour. I hurried downstairs and into the courtyard with him and went about waking up.
Eventually I found my way out to the drive and noticed a neighbor’s garage open. That open door led my thoughts to her – how she will begin her chemotherapy today for a lymphoma whose name I can’t remember. I said a prayer for her and thought to write her later – to let her know that hopefully today will be the worst of it – the unknown fear of how she will feel from the chemo will be replaced with understanding of what to expect from the treatment. I thought it interesting how she begins her chemo today, the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, and how I hope that the dread she has been feeling toward this day and the unknown will begin to diminish as she begins to heal, just as the daylight has reached its peak and tomorrow begins to wane again.
Eight years ago was a much different summer for me. I was a working pregnant mother of a toddler and I was exhausted. Those days I dragged myself out of bed at 6:30, not to hang out in the cool morning with the adorable puppy, but to stumble to the shower, cough my way through, maybe get sick, and trudge through another day. I did not know it but the fatigue I was experiencing was not just due to the demands of my chosen life as a young lawyer growing a family, it was due to an unknown growing in my body – not the daughter who is now a sweet seven year old, but a tumor in my neck that would finally reveal itself by September. Hodgkin’s lymphoma, we were relieved to find out after two weeks of waiting – the best cancer you can have. I’ve always prided myself on my good taste.
So today, in this fullest day of the year, I am grateful for the life I now have. One that feels like I am finally figuring out how to step into the fullness of. I hope to share more about that with you here. Thanks for reading.