More than three times throughout the past month, I’ve been asked how my summer was.
I’m a little confused by this because I’m not a) an eight
year old child returning from summer travels in my family’s minivan or b) a
teacher following a traditional school schedule.
I’ve struggled to find answers because the honest one is
long and complicated.
My real answer would scare a lot of people away and they’re really only asking to be polite, a fact that took me far too long to learn. Here’s exactly what I’d like to tell them:
“It’s just like any other season, only hotter. I’m slightly
peeved that I cant get the obnoxious curls that form near my forehead and
nowhere else, to stay in line with the rest of my hair because I’m literally
never not sweaty. To add insult to injury, the air conditioner in my car broke
so I almost feel like I could maybe make a few extra bucks by driving fancy
people around and telling them it’s a mobile
sauna and the combination of the motion, the wind, and the heat balances
Last week, the spoiler of my car became halfway detached and
I had to drag it along the road behind me while people stared. There were
squinted eyes and heads tilted at the spectacle, but a few people rolled down
their windows to kindly shout at me, “Hey! Your spoiler fell off! It’s dragging
behind your car!” I know the outbursts were with the most genuine, helpful
intentions and I did appreciate the sentiment but for God’s sake, the windows
were down (see above paragraph about air conditioning). I smiled and waved,
thanked them for their concern, like any calm and collected adult would have.
To ice the cake of this beautiful season, yesterday I was accidentally on the nightly news because the World Famous San Diego Zoo was historically closed for the first time anyone can remember. I kid you not, the news headline states: “San Diego Mom, Jordan, and Her Two Little Ones Had To Find Something Else To Do Today!” I had piled Maisley and Coura (not my offspring, by the way) into the car with so many sandwiches made, several changes of clothes packed, and every inch of their perfect baby skin rubbed with sunscreen. We were delighted in ourselves for celebrating the beautiful day with an adventure to the Zoo and signified the occasion with “Zoo! Zoo! Zoo!” chants on the 25-minute car ride there. Unfortunately, the exact spectacle we had our hearts set on had experienced an unprecedented closure due to a dangerous and extremely unexpected gas leak. Naturally, the person delivering this news to me happened to work for…the news, and thus – my 12 seconds of fame.
I can’t pretend that this season has been strictly bad news
and overheated toddlers; there has been magic too. Sandwiched between the
ridiculousness and the heat, I’ve had some friends receive amazing, life-giving
news. Other friends have walked through the most painful year of their life
with more grace than ever before, beautiful to me in the honesty and love that
they approach the world with. They’re the type of people who run around
lighting others up like fireflies on a warm Southern night and their loss has
somehow made their love feel even bigger this summer for reasons none of us can
In the past month, I’ve taken two amazing trips – one with the family I was born to and one with the family I am lucky enough to have found. We made the kind of memories that felt, even in the moments they were happening, like the Good Old Days. Riding along beside me across the miles, the dreamy days, the lazy Sundays and the hellish plane rides of the summer has been the blue-eyed soul I continue to love. The life I used to know has been enriched further every season by his depth of character, generosity, and sense of humor – I am so very grateful. My best friend got engaged to the love of her life and my heart feels so happy for them that it probably could burst.”
So each time I’ve been asked, I’ve answered with more certainty, less trepidation. I smile and I say:
“It’s been life, just warmer.”