How I once loved to love you. When it was near time for you to visit, I’d eagerly anticipate your arrival like I would a muffuletta after a cleanse. I still can’t wait to bask in your warmth—you’re a bright light that encourages growth in every living thing that surrounds you. You so generously liberate my toes, spirit and body from a coat that has come to feel more like a straitjacket.
For so many, you signal the onset of short-shorts and carefree beach weekends. You inspire the rituals of blessed unions, street festivals and al fresco dining. Maybe I’m just jealous, but as each year passes, I’ve been forced to reckon with a few serious complications in our relationship—namely, my children.
Now, you whiz by all wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am and when you leave, I feel used and abused. You are fraught with bittersweet endings, ceremonies celebrating the milestones of my children’s rapid growth. There are so many intense transitions to navigate: the end-of-year recitals, the final games, the classroom parties, the stepping-up ceremonies, the graduations, and they all make me a hot mess because each reminds me there are only so many of them left to look forward to.
The worst part: I want to be fully present and prepared for each and every event, but it always feels like I’m half-assing everything—I simply don’t have time to full-ass anything. When there are three weeks in a row of two or three must-attend ceremonies a day, I simply can’t keep up without longing for substances I haven’t wanted or touched in over 20 years. Then, you slap me in the face with yet another half day or random day off just as the school year is careening toward an end—every working parent’s logistical nightmare. Even if the intent is to wrap up the school year neatly in a bow, the frenetic pace you demand leaves me feeling completely spent and emotionally drained.
To top it off, there’s this pressure you induce to make plans and plans upon plans, to get out and engage with humanity in the comfortable weather before the mass exodus heralded by your buddy, July. So you throw in a nonstop swirl of barbecues and work-related social events to further complicate things, preying on my desire to be a well-rounded adult who lives for—not through—her children. Adding insult to injury, I’ve somehow become too old to wear short-shorts without looking alarmingly inappropriate.
I know I’ve grown distant. It’s not you, it’s me. Things are simply moving too fast. I need more time to, you know, feel my feelings, and some space to manage my expectations. Once these kids move out of my house, I’ll consider rekindling our carefree romance instead of obsessing about their whereabouts. I might even get to spend some quality time with you, reading an entire magazine or book on a chaise longue with my toes in the sand, instead of whiling away the month in a park full of uniformed tweens that smell like sports, or surrounded by rising third-graders “accidentally” soaking me with water balloons. But those are the things I need to focus on right now. I’m not terribly worried we won’t find our way back to each other. Our love just might be the kind of love that stands the test of time.