I wrote this piece at the end of summer two years ago! It’s both fitting and funny that somehow almost all of it still holds true today (with just one tweak: my older child goes to elementary school now):

My days are mainly composed of routine tasks: I’m up early every morning—whether I’m ready or not, whether I’d rather stay in bed or not. My kids greet each day with joy and eagerness in overabundance. I don’t remember when I lost this feeling and replaced it with reluctance and trepidation instead, but the kids’ enthusiasm is infectious. The energy crackles out of them, little sparklers, sparks popping, hopping over to me, I always wake up with a smile. 

Since I’ve gotten used to being woken up at early hours, I’ve acquired the amazing ability to wake up alert at any time (as well as fall sleep at any time). I’ve become so used to constantly being interrupted that I am more surprised when I am not. Breakfast is usually toast, then we wash up, change, and set out for nursery school. The walk is usually pleasant. After I bring them to school, I run errands and work on my book. Then I pick them up in the late afternoon, we play for a bit and basically do the same thing we did in the morning only in reverse. They greet bedtime with reluctance and trepidation instead of the overabundance of joy and eagerness that I have developed for it.

Then we do it all again the next day, and the next, and the next, and the next.

But of course, there are some special things to break the tedium and I try to stay in the present. We visit a new part of the city every weekend, there are always friends to visit, restaurants to go to, parks to explore, new things to learn, new tasks to accomplish, shows to watch, visitors to entertain. But even those things begin to fall into a familiar pattern like a decorative motif on a plate. The faster the plate spins, the more it begins to blur into a grey.

The days tend to blur as the time passes, the seasons fall as expected in the usual months, the clothes changing as reliably as the leaves. All the summers tend to flow into a fast-moving blur of familiar things: fresh strawberries, flowers, heat, sweat, sand, seawater, watermelon, sticky popsicles, sunscreen, sunlight, fruit flies, green leaves. Some memories fade into the background, years turn to liquid, decades into rivers, flowing out with a strong current. In the grand ebb and flow, the strong patterns of routines make just a passing impression, they become carriers of moments revisited. Golden leaves on the surface, cherished, painful, poignant. 

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5 thoughts on “Summer’s Golden Flourish 

  1. I like this, MP. It reminds me of the paradoxical nature of everyday routines– they tie you down in one sense, but free you up in another:

    “The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.” David Foster Wallace.

    I once watched a British show called ‘Fleabag,’ which was hilarious and profane, like life sometimes gets, and was haunted by something one character said:

    “I want to move back home. I want to hug my wife. Protect my children, protect my daughter. I want to move on. I want to apologise. To everyone. Want to go to the theatre. I want to take clean cups out of the dishwasher and put them in the cupboard at home and the next morning, I want to watch my wife drink from them.”

    The clean cups from cupboard really got me in the feels. I didn’t know why. It was confusing to me. Normally, unloading the dishwasher is one of the most yawn-worthy tasks. It was only a year later that I finally got it. I had been in hospital for half a week and what do you think I missed while I was there? Everyday routine!

    Here’s another fictional character’s take on everyday routine:

    “You’re convinced that you’re this failure, but you actually made your biggest dream come true. That sameness that you despise. That’s your gift to them. Waking up every day and doing the same things for them over and over. You… are boring. Your marriage is boring. Your house is boring, but that’s fucking incredible! That’s the big dream, to grow up and be dull and constant, and then raise your kids in that circle of safety.” Tully (2018)

    Not that I think you think your life is boring, MP. But there are times, when I’m vacuuming the same carpet again that I think to myself, “Is THIS it?” And then a wiser part of me whispers, “This IS. Isn’t it grand?”

    Here’s to the everyday!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I always LOVE reading your comments! You’re so thoughtful and wise! I am a big fan of that show Fleabag! I really enjoy the witty writing, complex characters and I love all the quotes you’ve mentioned!👏👏 All the so-called “boring” or “tedious” everyday work, especially of motherhood, is usually overlooked and not valued when it should. It’s funny, whenever I meet a kind stranger, I always say a silent thank you to their mother. Wisdom, empathy, and kindness are best nurtured. Not having had a happy childhood myself, I appreciate the wonder of the mundane, the stability of routines, of not having to worry or fight for basic needs. These are all things I strive to provide to my children, but most of all I strive to give them the ability to appreciate all these little things by telling them my story–what it’s like not have them. Maybe I’ll be remembered as one of those “back in my day” parents, but I hope they get my intention! 😄

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  2. Magnificent then, magnificent now. I love the summer so much, for so many reasons you’ve listed, but I love the change to autumn, as well. I’ve said before that my favorite season is always the one approaching. However the world was made I’m glad it ended up the way it did. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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