Pretty poetic and insightful of my father-in-law.
School starts tomorrow.
We are headed back to the pool today (and we went yesterday too) to try and eke out the last dregs of summertime essence.
It seems crazily unbelievable that summertime--with all of its' plans and promises and sun-filled days--could have already come and gone.
I DID have lots of plans for this summer.
I was going to buy a desk for Ethan so he could learn to organize his school stuff.
I was going to go on a special birthday trip with my sister.
I was taking the kids to Georgia to visit my new niece.
Ethan was going to learn multiplication.
Carolyn was going to work on reading.
Bennett wanted to learn more math (who's kid IS he?).
We were going to build a new deck and patio for the backyard.
I was going to run the night-time races in Joplin.
We were going to have our annual firefly night.....
Most summer-ends I look back over my "list" and realize that we have only accomplished about half of the things on it.
This year.....pretty much nothing.
Most summer-ends I wish fervently for just one more week.
This year....I am torn.
While I wish we had more of a summer....
I suspect that even if there were 5 more weeks it still wouldn't really be "summer".
Maybe if we just hurry up and start the school year now....then we will just get closer to a "do-over" for next year's summer.
On the other hand...
I suppose we (we as a family, friend circle, community town and country) accomplished lots of things this summer that were
--We learned to believe in tornado sirens
--I completely rearranged my priority list in life
--I learned exactly what should go into an emergency kit
--We discovered that an EF-5 does a much more thorough job of remodeling our back yard/deck than we ever could
--I WAY upped my dependence on God
--We tried to figure out the difference between "victim" and "survivor"
--RH and I helped bulldoze our own house
--We got a new house
--I learned that one hour in a mold-filled warehouse will yield one full day of coughing
--I discovered that I HATE excel spreadsheets
--We confirmed that a little Shake's frozen custard really CAN help most situations
--I realized that wearing makeup to church is pointless because I'm just going to cry it off anyway
--We learned that the strength of our town is unbelievable
--We found out just how amazing and loving our friends (and strangers) really are
Many more things could go on this list.
I may add them later.
I may not.
So we did have a "summer".
Not a normal one so much. (understatement of a lifetime?)
I took the kids to Shake's this week (is that a recurrent theme in my life or what?).
We sat outside to enjoy our treat.
To the right is a smashed up untouched strip mall with nasty tornado puke all over.
To the left is the new Wallmart construction with the old Walmart remnants drifting over the parking lot.
Straight ahead is the moldy ruins of another strip mall.
Yeah....I know I could point out the analogy of finding beauty
Last night I drove down Main Street and was again sickeningly surprised by the block-after-block darkness separated by green and red glowing traffic lights.
I went to Carolyn's open house at her school and (although I've been to that school twice a week all summer and driven down the road even more than that) had to swallow really hard when I looked south and saw--not the neighborhood where I used to run and many of my friends lived....but gently rolling dirty hills.
So....what's the point of all of this?
Not too sure.
I guess that....with all of the talk about "new starts" and "fresh beginnings" for our town this school year (which I DO believe in and am amazed at all the work that's been accomplished to get the schools ready!) .....
Maybe I expected a feeling of closure on summer?
Maybe I thought that the "normal" would come back?
Or that there might be a "new normal" feeling?
But...it just feels like more changes.
Change isn't always bad, you know.
It grows you.
It grows me.
Growth is good.
So maybe it's not the "summer that wasn't".
Maybe it's the "summer that wasn't what we expected".
You know how sometimes (oftentimes) after a "mixed" experience (for example....Disney World. Fun times but hour long lines with cranky kids) only the good things are remembered (kids have NO recollection of the lines....just the fun)?
Maybe this summer....eventually.....can be like that?
I know we won't forget everything that happened on and after May 22nd....but maybe we will remember the good points of the summer too.
--We went to Oceans of Fun
--Ethan learned to dive and do a flip
--Bennett got to do a class III rapid in Colorado
--We did a family hike with SEVENTEEN of us up a beautiful mountain in Vail
--Carolyn figured out how to put her own hair in a ponytail
There WERE good things.
There WERE points of brightness amidst the blur of debris filled days.
So maybe one day.....one far far far away day....we can look back on the summer of 2011 as a
With lots of Shake's.