I know I am not the only person caught in a serious slump.
The summer is becoming a blurry afterthought as I cling desperately to every ray of sunshine, every ripe tomato, every minute of twilight in the driveway, watching the girls ride bikes or color with chalk.
This was the summer when our new house became our home. We have wrung lots of precious moments out of our days: picking berries, jumping full force into the pool, building castles at the beach, eating anything outside, and most recently streaking in the backyard (the kids–not me).
Now that it is finally August, things are starting to unravel at a fast clip. Overnight, temperatures in the northeast have dipped slightly and on my way to work this morning, I saw red leaves on the trees. Autumn is creeping in.
Though the summer has been full of some routine for my oldest, this week she asked if it was autumn yet. When we told her it was still summer, she was sure it was July. She is trapped in a time-space continuum that makes complete sense–no one has had circle time in weeks so why should she know that we’re inching closer to Labor Day?
There are less than fourteen days until school starts and everyone is ready for someone to give us some structure. We are getting tired of everything.
Tired of the never-ending cycle of laundry. Wet towels, soggy bathing suits, that favorite sundress–piling up day after day, spinning over and over again. Loads remain unfolded and I’m nearly certain some items don’t have any homes at all. The homeless towels take up residence in the pool bag or the kids’ backpacks, never quite finding their place anywhere.
Tired of the debris all over the house tracked by dirty feet that I’m scrubbing every night in the “foot bath” because we’re all too lazy to run a full tub. Blades of grass, bugs from outside, buttercups and dandelions picked hours ago, now wilted on the kitchen floor.
Tired of the interrupted work time. Having worked in sporadic but concentrated stretches all summer, it is no surprise that I am coming up short on my completed projects. And as we close in on the start of the semester, I want my courses to be prepped and settled but I can’t bring myself to put the finishing touches on my syllabi.
Tired of lacking motivation. I want to read the books stacked up on my nightstand–the ones for work and the ones for me, but I just can’t bring myself to read more than a page or two. I want to exercise outside but I can’t bring myself to wake up in the morning. I set my alarm every day for 6:30am in the hopes I’ll get up and do some writing or reading or exercising and nothing happens. I snooze twice and wake up to curly heads climbing into my bed.
Tired of the lovely burdens of summer. The constant shucking of corn on the cob, the carting of dinner plates out to the yard and into the house, shlepping to pick berries or checking on the garden in my neighbor’s yard, the constant fly infestation from doors left open too long, the search for sunscreen or hats or that missing flip flop kicked off carelessly on a tear into the house. Nothing feels orderly.
And tired of being tired. The late bedtimes, the tantrums pitched in exhausted desperation before passing out under covers (“but not sheets, Mommy”). The discovery and rediscovery of toys long forgotten after hours spent at camp and the wars waged over “who got it first”. The protestation over going to camp because “I just want to stay home” mingled with the exclamation that “I want to go DO SOMETHING because I’m bored” while spending a scant hour in the house.
We are standing on the precipice of new territory. Soon, my oldest will start kindergarten and my youngest will begin proper preschool. I will start my last year on my contract at my current institution. My husband’s company launches a redesigned version of their main product. It is a busy time for us.
In a few weeks, when twilight creeps in minutes and then hours earlier, and when our new routine has regimented our days, we will long for carefree, post-dinner walks, for the quick trip to the farm for ice cream after dinner, for our soggy bottoms at the pool, or our lazy mornings with nothing planned.
And that is when I’ll remind myself that this isn’t really a slump. It’s just life.