I’m pretty sure it’s now.
First snowfalls are lovely, but since I know how quickly the novelty of that wears off, I cannot enjoy them as much as I did as a child. I do dearly love spring, but it is just so short. The daffodils are done blooming before I have even had the chance to splash in more than one little melted snow puddle.
As a good Northerner, I know I am supposed to love summer. I feel guilty any time a beautiful, sunny day finds me inside. But the truth is, midsummer is almost too much for me. It is all color, vivid and bright and hot, and it’s kind of like looking full into the sun for weeks on end.
I like a time of year I can embrace. More sedate and stately, wearing its loveliness with grace rather than showing it off. Late August is to July what Kate Middleton is to Katy Perry. They are both beautiful, but I can far more easily imagine myself giving a hug to someone in a timeless, chic hat and tailored suit than to someone whose boobs shoot fireworks.
It’s likely mostly in my own mind, but the change from Too Much Summer to Gentler, Autumn-Is-Coming Summer seems to always happen right when we get back from our annual trip to the lake with my mom’s side of the family. Before: stressed and overwhelmed, hot and cranky, worried about the busy, busy fall because I CAN’T EVEN RELAX WHEN IT IS SUMMER, HOW AM I GOING TO HANDLE FALL? After: Autumn, with all its new possibilities, suddenly seems not only doable, but exciting! Bring it on!
This trip is always a milestone, not only of the passing of the current year, but as a way to measure our entire lives. Riya can swim all the way out to the floating dock! She went tubing, and barely even flinched when her tube got swamped. Ben and Karina
don’t need won’t take naps anymore! They can play cards and paddle around the swimming beach without an adult constantly in arm’s reach! My two-year-old nephew can teeter-totter with his cousins, and once said “Auntie Julie do it!” even though my brother and sister-in-law were within earshot (and, okay, I totally bribed him with a Curious George video, BUT IT STILL COUNTS). My cousin’s son can DRIVE. Like A CAR!
It’s a family with as many difficulties, big or small, as any other. And if I tried to show you just how, exactly, everyone on this trip fit on the family tree, it would require more patience, time, and paper than I currently possess. (Better simply to say, as my dad did when a server asked, “Are you all RELATED!?”: “Yes, but this is the only time of year when we admit it.”)
Whatever its problems or its complications, though, it’s OURS. It’s mine. And maybe it’s really the time spent immersed in something that is so completely a part of me, and not the place we go or the weather when we return, that makes me love this time of year.