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 their chakras.
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 explain.
In the past month, I’ve taken two amazing trips. We made the kind of memories that felt, even in the moments they were happening, like the Good Old Days. 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.”