It's usually around this time of year that I get absolutely sick of summer. I get tired of the sweaty armpits and the stinky flip-flops and the things that humidity and heat do to my hair. I start eyeing my closetful of turtlenecks and corduroys and start wishing the air would cool off some. I'm ready for new notebooks and new students and a new routine.
But I'm not feeling these pangs so strongly this summer. I was thinking about this as I was pulling zucchini bread out of the oven tonight. Addie calls it "Bikini Bread," but ours most certainly is NOT. We put in plenty of sugar and chocolate chips, and I was surprised at how delicious it was, warm like that, and sweet. There was a vegetable soup simmering on the stove when Addie and I pulled that bread out, singing and dancing in our silly aprons, blowing on it so we could have a bite. I love figuring out new recipes to try using all the vegetables we've been getting from our friends' gardens. Having moved too late in the season to have one ourselves this year, we've benefitted from the generosity and overflow of others' zucchini and tomato plants, the best artifacts of summer. Yumma yumma, as we like to say. Yumma yumma.
Nolie took her first steps this summer, though she has refused to do it since, preferring instead to be carried around everywhere, or to crawl ferociously across the floor using her peg-leg push-along. She says Mama and Dada and Kitty (her favorite) and delights in jamming her sharp, crusty little pointer finger into belly buttons (her own and everyone else's). She is such a fearless little person in space, somersaulting and rolling everywhere, leaping off your lap and cracking her head every five minutes without shedding a tear. It still floors me to think she is one now. What a time-warp of a year it has been.
The girls are in daycare full-time, and I am adjusting to relying on so many others to help me raise my children. I do this mostly without regrets; we are beyond happy to have such good care for the girls, and I know that the girls love their caregivers deeply. I'm also grateful to have the opportunity and time to do my work, to not feel so pressured and pulled professionally. Still, it feels fragile most days, this web of people who come together to make all of this happen, to make sure the center holds. The edges fray most of the time, typically in the form of a really sticky kitchen floor, or piles of undone laundry, or foul, foul pools of dried milk behind the carseats that have become some sort of seriously offensive primordial soup. We probably need to call in a hazmat team for that one.
And maybe there are fraying edges that we don't know about, that we'll come to regret later. Maybe I'll wish I'd not been so ambitious, had stayed home more. I can't guess at that. Mostly, things feel right the way they are. Classes have started, but there is still time for tomatoes, swings in the hammock, runs in the park. It's still hot, and I tire of the heat some days. But I'm not praying for the autumn breezes yet, except maybe for the people in the south, who really know what hot means. I'm not giving up on mosquitoes and crickets, and the velvets and wools are still in the back of the closet. I know fall is coming, regardless of how I feel, but I'm not wishing it along any faster than it needs, this time. For now, I'm sticking with summer.