This summer, I spent time outside nearly every day, taking my kids to the park, the library, the splash pad, swimming lessons, or wherever. Last summer I was stuck inside a lot, looking out the window a lot, nursing my fussy, red-faced newborn, and I was super sad and wanting to go outside but also really self-conscious of my face, since I had just gotten Bell’s Palsy, so also felt maybe it was just as well, except there was nothing well about it.
This summer, I flew on an airplane with both kids by myself and I survived, and though I know it was the longest 4ish hours of my life, many of the details are a blur. I know the guy next to me said, “That wasn’t bad at all!” when we landed. He was a kind man and he was happy to hold Lady Bug, my one-year old, whenever I needed another pair of hands, so I can’t complain about that, but I was thinking, “Maybe from where you were sitting.”
This summer, I gave away some baby things, like a baby swing, a bouncy seat, some random newborn diapers, and a baby tub and man, it felt good.
This summer, I decided I would have to be crazy to want another baby. I always thought it might be nice to have three, but now that we have two, I’m fine thank you very much.
This summer, neighbors moved in directly behind us who have a three-year old girl. The conversations shouted over the fence between my 3 year old and theirs are ridiculous and funny and cute and riddled with non-sequitors and I’m sure that if I wrote them down, word for word, I would always have something to smile about when I found that random piece of paper folded up in a drawer or wherever, but I’m always grilling or hanging laundry when they happen, so I never do.
This summer, I read Judy Blume’s latest novel, “In the Unlikely Event” and while it was not the greatest book of all time, it was pretty good, it had me turning the pages long past my bedtime, and it took me back to when I was 10, 11, and 12 years old, reading and re-reading my copies of “Are You There God It’s Me Margaret,” “Deenie,” and “Tiger Eyes” because Judy Blume’s voice is still the same after all these years, and I am still the same after all these years, too.
This summer, three people asked me if I had stopped blogging because they hadn’t noticed any new posts in their Facebook feed or their inbox and I felt bad because I didn’t ever intend to take a hiatus, life just sort of got in the way, but I also felt good because some people beside my mom missed hearing from me.
This summer, I rocked a bikini even though my body doesn’t look like it used to and my sister asked me, “Is my stomach going to look like that after I’ve had two babies!?” “That” is the loose skin around my navel and I don’t know if hers will or won’t so I told her that and she said, “I’ve never seen that before” and I said, “That’s because tankinis.” I think probably a lot of women have some elephant-like skin around their navel after a pregnancy or two but all the magazines say you should be ashamed to have a stomach that looks like that and so you need to cover that shit up. Sometimes I’m a little self-conscious about my stomach, which is when I wear this (eg the best one piece ever and Garnet Hill has paid me nothing to say this, but Garnet Hill, you totally can if you want), but sometimes I wear a two piece and it’s my silent “fuck you” to all the magazines. Also, my tummy deserves to get some sun.
This summer, I biked my girls to the farmers market on a day that Dan went for a hike in a remote area, and when I went to lock up the bike, I couldn’t find my keys. So I decided I would have to leave the bike by our blanket and just hang out with the bike all morning, which was suboptimal, but what choice did I have, except after we spread out the blanket I realized my phone was missing. So I kind of panicked but I couldn’t show it because of my kids. I never saw my mom panic. Well, once I did, and it was because my grandfather passed out dinner, but I handled it because by then I was an adult, too, and I knew what to do. I stopped a stranger while retracing my steps, and when I started to explain the situation, I almost cried, because she was the first grown-up I was telling this to, and I am prone to crying when I’m overwhelmed, and she was happy to let me borrow her phone so I could at least email the friend I was supposed to meet because I didn’t know her number and then the kind stranger said, “Have you called your phone?” and I said, “You’re a genius!” so I called my phone and someone answered and said my phone and keys were together at the Farmer’s Market info booth and I was so happy I could have cried.
This summer isn’t over yet, which I’m really happy about.