No, really. One of my favorite days of the year is the first Monday of summer break. Saturday feels like Saturday, Sunday feels like Sunday. The next morning you wake up and when you're barely awake Monday feels like Monday. Then you wake up enough to realize that it is, indeed, Monday but YOU DON'T HAVE TO GO TO WORK. Couldn't if you wanted to. Classroom is bare, locked up. Keys are in the possession of the Admin. Ass't and you are - happily, thankfully - locked out for ten whole weeks.
There's a classic joke about the best part of teaching: June, July and August. I originally chose teaching because what I wanted to be was a stay-at-home Mom to my kids and at least as a teacher my work calendar and work day coincided with my kids' so I could be with them when they were not in school. I think there is a lot of misunderstanding, though, about what that time off is. It's a lay-off. Teachers aren't paid vacation time, just a daily rate times however many days we work. We have to be sure we save enough money throughout the year to make it through the breaks. I only mention it because of my incredulity. A couple of weeks ago a colleague was talking to a woman who had been a member of our local School Board of Trustees for decades. Yep, she was my boss for a while. She's still active in the education community. Anyway, my colleague was talking to her about current district issues and somehow in the conversation the topic of summer break and saving for it and so on came up, and this woman - who had been a powerful leader on the Board that RUNS the district said, "Wait a minute! You mean you aren't PAID for those breaks!"
I wanted to bang my head on the table.
So, now I look at this summer's promise and try to wrap my head around that instead.
Summer before last on this day I was getting ready to go serve on our county' criminal grand jury. 99 days. Three full days a week. It had been a form of hell during the school year. Sub plans, and then dealing with the avalanche of paper created when you have a sub. On top of that the 5-month-old puppy managed to break BOTH back legs which started a nightmare of care (I didn't have the heart to put him down). My great accomplishment of that summer - between jury days and carrying this dog's hindquarters in a sling every time he had to toilet (did I mention he was allergic to dog food and had chronic diarrhea unless I cooked chicken and rice - constantly) - was The Sanctuary.
When we moved into this house 37 years ago, I had a sewing room. When the first son came along, my sewing room became the nursery, and was his bedroom for a couple of decades. Then it served as storage/sewing room doubling as guest room when he came home. Then it was his bedroom again. And finally when it was clear he had gone on his own for good, I moved in. It was like living in a storage unit. So that summer I squeezed a complete make-over into the spare hours.
The before/after pictures are here.
Then it was time for another school year. December 5, 2009 I decided that it was time to really commit to losing the 100+ pounds I'd carried around for over three decades. In late January we learned my dad was dying of cancer and by late June he was gone. It was a hard time for my family, but I was given some guidance and support that helped me through it and I came out of that summer feeling strong, happy and on the right path.
Now it's a new summer, full of promise. So far (and I don't want to tempt the fates here) there seems to be a clear road ahead. I just have to figure out how I want to make the trip.
I was complaining to a good friend that I have so much I WANT to do, I can't seem to make the first move to do anything. She says I have Option Paralysis. Isn't that perfect? For her, lists are a strong tool for moving things along. I'm going to take her advice and Lists are high on my list for today. I also have some errands that MUST be done.
Tomorrow will be fun. I'm going to spend some time with my mom, then go to my sister's for a make-up lesson. I'm not really into make-up. This is the first year in decades that I managed to flick on some mascara before work every day. And I'm not really interested in sacrificing precious minutes every day for the ritual of foundation, highlighters, blushes and bronzes and four different shades of eyeshadow.
But next week I celebrate a new decade. Yep, next Wednesday is my 60th birthday.
I'm planning a celebratory Birth-Week including having my portrait taken. Nothing too fancy, just the local Penney's Studio. But I bought a new blouse (in a killer color) and am getting my hair cut. AND am getting some instruction in putting a finish on my face. Don't have much hope that it will camouflage my wrinkles but it should help tone down the freckles and shine.
Once I get past a Wednesday deadline, the summer will be mine. I just have to make some lists (or maybe some charts and probably both) to still the chaos in my head and actually move forward on some long-anticipated projects. Writing projects. Quilt projects. Purging and Organization projects. (Quilt, cross-stitch and other craft supplies headed for ebay). Gardening projects. Even some planning projects for school next year.
I was very productive during my one-week spring break this year. I came back to work feeling like I had been gone forever and had accomplished - much to my satisfaction - a great deal. I would love to finish out this summer break in the same state of satisfaction.
The solstice falls on my birthday this year. Maximum elevation. The longest day of the year.
Seems positive, somehow.