I can't remember being so reticent to say goodbye to summer. First of all, we haven't had one until this week. So it feels like I'm chasing the train down the tracks, begging it to reverse course and come back to me. But the train's left the station, and fall is unmistakably in the air--shorter days, leaves underfoot through Whatcom Falls Park, and spiders everywhere all of the sudden.
And here's the kicker--Wyatt starts at his new school tomorrow, and Loretta at her new preschool. Nothing says "Autumn" like new backpacks and lunchboxes. I feel two ways about tomorrow. I'm so ready for routine and time to myself--time to clear off my desk, turn my attention to work, have ten minutes when I'm not asked for something. But I'll miss my kids as they disappear into those little worlds that don't have much to do with me. One thing is for sure--I won't regret not cleaning the house this summer and going to the beach instead. Next time you're sucked into ChoreLand, stop and wonder if it will really matter in the end.
I've been content to disappear this summer, hardly doing any of the snail or emailing I meant to do or the professional networking I pretty much knew I wasn't going to do. We haven't visited chuches or looked up old friends or got on any Bellingham listserves. Until a few days ago, I wanted to be off the radar, picking blackberries with my kids or holed up with my Kindle. Something is shifting though, and I find myself needing and wanting to make friends. My friend Steve and I have always wondered together why there aren't classes or workshops on how to make friends. It's an endeavor that continues throughout our lifetimes and something we don't talk that much about. How does it happen for you? If you're new somewhere, how do you break into lives and worlds that didn't need or know you before?
Besides the friend frontier, here are a few other tidbits from our 2-month foray into Bellingham life:
- I don't miss Seattle traffic, how much planning it takes to get to a movie, or the constant parade of sirens past our house.
- I really miss ramen, good teriyaki joints, Asian markets, the light rail, and the dizzying choices should we get a night away from the kids.
- I know now that home is wherever Yancey and my children are. However lonely I might get in the coming months, I have everything when I have them. It sounds silly to just be realizing this now, but my Seattle life was very externalized. I don't regret that, but I'm happy to be in another stage.
- Bellingham needs a butcher shop. Big time. I miss my beloved Bob's.
- When Yancey is not at the station, he is tearing down walls, rerouting plumbing, and doing his darndest to make a 1970 track home cool. We are getting there. And even if we're walking around on subfloor, it's going to be a party house. I've got a salvaged six-burner Viking cooktop and a dream-come-true Craigs List convection oven that are going to start earning their keep right away.
- I've done more bike riding and lake swimming in the last 8 weeks than I have in the last 10 years. As summer comes to an end, I feel strong and grateful.
As the seasons change and you face whatever is next in your life, may you feel the same--strong and grateful.