It is full summer now. The world outside is hot during the day and comfortably warm at night. When my kids were little this was the season of running through sprinklers, eating popsicles, and playing with friends. Once the kids got older, summer was unscheduled days and lots of video games while mom and dad both worked. Sometimes there would be family gatherings and outings. Holidays like Independence Day were an opportunity to look up from the habits we’d fallen into and gather together. This year I watched fireworks from my front lawn by myself. Howard joined me for a bit, as did one of my sons, but mostly it was me watching explosions in the sky. Some furnished by the city, but most from the hands of neighbors. I had a moment of sadness for how different life is now than it used to be. Yes the pandemic, but also the natural shifts of children moving into adulthood and family events not coming together the way they used to. I’m not sure if my failure to orchestrate these events is evidence of me being tired, or if it is simply the natural result of kids growing up.
I sat down to do accounting on Saturday. Because of a conversation I’d had with Howard earlier in the week, I opened up my Accounting Instructions file. These are a series of documents designed to walk someone else through my accounting processes, just in case there comes a time when I’m not available to do the work. The were in dire need of updating, and I discovered that some tasks which are supposed to happen quarterly hadn’t been done since June of last year. That gave me pause, I’m usually far more conscientious about the accounting. Then I remember the series of events from the past year. How I spend all of last summer tearing apart my house and then fixing it again (all while in a blind financial panic at the massive hole blown in my finances) because we had to replace the sewer line. That project wound to a conclusion just before my daughter became engaged, which led to me acquiring a wedding planning job (across the Christmas shipping season and holiday celebrations.) We’d just triumphantly celebrated the wedding when Howard got sick, and then the pandemic changed everything. I haven’t had a period of emotional/event stability for more than a year. No wonder I’m tired. And no wonder I’m not spending extra effort to pull my kids from their settled pursuits into an activity that would expend more energy in service of bonding. I know the value of bonding, but energy is still in short supply.
I wonder how much of my emotional state in the past few weeks is because of remembered trauma from last year. Even though I’m not consciously thinking about it, the limbic lizard brain inside my head tracks things like daylight and weather, then it sends alarms “Last time conditions were like this, things suddenly got very stressful. Remember all that stress?” Of course this year has a sufficient supply of stress all by itself. I just think I got a dose of remembered stress on top of this year’s stress. No wonder I’m nostalgic for the Before Times, but I need to reach past 2019 to find memories I’d like to dwell in.
I still have half a summer ahead of me. During it, I want to teach my son to drive. I want to finish a patio. I hope to buy flooring for the next stage of the kitchen remodel. In service of these things, I have work to do to bring in funds, and new ways to work that still need to be figured out. I need to fully embrace being in July and not waste energy trying to see beyond it. Hopefully I can do that.