Thursday, September 6, 2012

What I learned during Summer vacation

I don't know what it is about August, but it has always been hell month for me. It's not just the unending heat or the way my skin bristles every time the too bright sun touches it; life tends to triple its speed in August until I'm utterly worn out. By the time August ends, I am longing to hide in a cool bath in a dark room far, far away from telephones and to-do lists.

This August was no exception. Queen Teen had two trips to Stanford, plus a muscle biopsy (more on that later). Her recovery was good, but slow, and I got to battle with three different agencies for a shower bench (more on that to come later as well). I was frantically trying to finish the new website for Medusa's Muse before I went back to work (didn't make it). And then school started; I went back to teaching and she started the 11th grade. Rick and I juggled my return to work and QT's reduced school schedule (half days for now) with our usual strategy: take it day by day and stress out the entire time. Thankfully a good friend has helped out while I continued to look for regular child care

Now it is September and we are all starting to settle in to our new schedule. I harvested the basil this weekend and am making several pounds of pesto to enjoy this winter, and this year we enjoyed our first delicious crop of table grapes from our 8 year old vines. The summer was stressful because of the changes in Queen Teen's health. But it was also oddly peaceful. When I look back on the last few months, I see just how lovely our summer was (except for that dreaded August). And I learned some very important things.

What I learned during Summer vacation.
  • Tomatoes need consistent watering or their skins will crack and the fruit become misshapen. 
  • All those late nights and extra hours I spent teaching are totally worth it if I can have summer off. 
  • It is important to spend time doing nothing. If you fill your days with tasks and to-do's and constant business, you never have time to truly enjoy being alive. Sit in your yard every day with your shoes off and watch your garden grow while listening to the humming birds fight over the flowers. 
  • Doing the above is even nicer with a glass of good wine.
  • Creating a peaceful space in your home, a place where no work is allowed, is very important for mental health. This space is even more helpful if you create it in your bedroom.
  • Reading a book on a Kindle is fun. 
  • Going to the mall with a typically developing teenage girl is fascinating, especially when you turn that girl lose in Abercrombie and Fitch.
  • Having Queen Teen's best friend with her when Queen Teen had to get her biopsy made everything much better. We should always bring a friend (and not just one of my friends). 
  • In-laws who will paint your bedroom and clean your kitchen are the greatest gift there is.
  • Running feels good.
  • A slower pace to match Queen Teen's lower energy is kind of a gift. Stress was reduced because she wasn't begging to do things all the time, and when we did go out, she seemed to enjoy it more.
  • Sharing time with a person who is ill teaches you not to take things for granted. I know we've all heard that before, but when you're caring for your child who is struggling so much just to walk or eat, you realize how wonderful each moment of your life is. This child is precious and beautiful, and her time on this Earth is limited. We don't know how long, but I know I will out live her. So enjoy the days, the accomplishments, the set backs, the laughs. Enjoy and savor each breath. We all have limited time; don't waste your one beautiful life.
  • But remember, enjoying your life doesn't mean filling it up with accomplishments. The time you spend with your family is far more important than what you think you need to achieve. 
  • Working with your hands, rather than only with your brain, is extremely relaxing.
  • Curious George is hysterical.
  • Pumpkin plants need a lot of feedings if you want to make a pumpkin pie this fall. 
  • A car with air conditioning equals liberation.


Mother of Chaos said...

That's what I love about gardening - working with my hands and not being required to be particularly CLEVER...for a few minutes, anyway...

And Curious George IS hysterical. I thought everybody already KNEW that... (8^D

dlefler said...

I hope you manage to get QT's shower bench - it can be so frustrating trying to coordinate different agencies (we're STILL trying to get a button for Nolan and he has a full g-tube in place until insurance and the DME can get their ducks in a row).

Your list brought tears to my eyes - sometimes we get lost in the hustle and bustle and forget to LIVE. To watch the sun shine through the morning mist on the country lane (outside my door this morning), to simply BE with others.

And a good glass of wine makes everything more enjoyable.