I slide along the bench to get closer to the music, to the chorus of this song. It’s Awake My Soul by Mumford and Sons. It’s what I want – for my soul to be awake.
I’m watching Ben swim and he’s getting it this time. His swimming teacher isn’t far behind. Kick your legs, face in the water, blow your bubbles.
“I did it! I did it!” Jumping into the deep end, floating on his back, and doing a front glide everyone has to hear about it. Benjamin’s enthusiasm is contagious, his smile so broad I smile and wave. “Good job, Ben!” He turns to the teacher. “My mom is watching me. Look! She’s watching me.” The teacher nods and smiles. Ben puffs out his small chest and stretches his hand out of the water to give me a thumbs-up.
I love days like this. Sunny and hazy, sentimental songs, beach towels strewn about, dark glasses, kids dripping with water and pride, the scent of chlorine and coconut in the air. Summer is part nostalgia and part spotlight. I’m in the sun and all its glory past and present. My favorite part of summer is that it keeps me present.
And this summer has definitely kept me in the here-and-now. We were given lice, a new house and Scott pursued his dream of becoming a professional skydiver. Okay, I can’t blame it on summer. It’s just what happened this summer.
On our way to art camp one chilly overcast (did I mention that July was this year’s winter?) day Annie was scratching her head, digging her nails in until her hair resembled Einstein’s and said, “It feels like I have lice.” I was in denial for 5 seconds (not my child) until I peered closely at her hair, saw the critters clinging to her hair and scalp, and began to go through all the stages of grief in 10 seconds. Outrage. Acceptance. Sad. Grim determination.
In crisis I have a pretty good head on my shoulders. I can be calm and level-headed crossing that bridge when I come to it. But lice had me panicking, my face moving back and forth between alarmed – eyebrows up – and mad – eyebrows furrowed. The bugs in my daughter’s hair, my hair, and Ben’s hair did me in. Yup. All of us had lice. I’ll bet right now you’re all scratching your heads wondering if it can jump off the screen and on to you. Well, I learned lice can’t jump and I am pleased to say we are all lice free, thank God, but I still find myself picking through my kids’ hair outside where the light is best, in line-ups, and while they’re eating breakfast. I continue to comb through their hair even as they whine and swat my hands away, “Stop it. I don’t have lice. People are looking. Geez.”
While our house was zoned to battle lice it was also up for sale. So, I had to have the house ready at all times for prospective buyers to troop through and decide if this was the home for them. We had our eye on a house just five minutes away and thought we’d risk the blah, nearly dead market. Our attitude was if it worked out…great. If not, we’d be okay. We like where we live. We just need more space.
Do you know what happens when you don’t really care? Your house sells. It’s like when you’ve sworn off men you suddenly acquire a boyfriend. That’s how I got Scott. Don’t care and poof! Boyfriend! House! I’m going to apply the same wisdom to a lottery ticket. Poof! A million dollars! Thanks to the new house I will be getting a basement, walk-in closet and actual office/writing space instead off a small desk just off my kitchen with the most obnoxious eyesore of a printer beside it. We love our neighbors and are sad to leave them, so it’s with mixed up feelings that we move.
This is part 1 of 2. I’m sure I’ve left you with bated breath with that last sentence. Where could she go from here?? Really, it’s just too long of a post. In Part 2, coming soon, you’ll find out how books factor in to the title and how I became a skydiving widow (not literally. Scott isn’t dead. His parachute didn’t fail him.) this summer.