No apologies here. It was good to take a break from analyzing every setback, every action, every failure to act. I vacationed from that while we were away. What else did I do? I stubbornly refused to become mired in self-pity, even when it would have been the easiest thing in the world to do. I think I did okay there, for the most part (although maybe J remembers differently).
We ate a lot, as we tend to do when we have access to a grill. We spent so many unforgettable moments with the kids, I worried they might start forgetting them. When a single week contains an epic bike ride, swimming in salt and fresh water, boating, a whale watch, a colorful parade, a juggling show and a campfire at sunset on the beach… well, I’m just impressed I remembered all of it just now.
On our last full day, we beached it up most of the day. I took out the inflatable raft and decided to let it float me wherever. It was relaxing, the sun went behind clouds for a bit, and there was a little breeze, so… I drifted. Far out. I think I even started falling asleep. It didn’t seem far, until I slid myself off the raft and started kicking through the suddenly-frigid water back to shore. It seemed to take hours, because the wind and the current were against me. Our friends and J were watching from the shore, wondering at first if I’d actually fallen off the raft, then watching me laboriously work my way back. I wasn’t waving, but wasn’t drowning, either. The bay, though, had suddenly become a slightly menacing place, which you’d never be able to discern in this photo of it at its best:
(The mosquitoes are also invisible.) I did mention to J that if at any point I became truly, gravely ill, floating out to sea on a raft would be my preferred exit strategy. J is getting used to hearing this sort of thing from me. I hope.
This feels like the summer that will never end (and ours ends a week before public school families’ does). I don’t really know how it will feel once it’s over. Once I can plan my own days and pick up at the kids at – new this year – the SAME TIME after school. I’ll be so grateful to go back to the gym, to get back on my bike, to return to my housewifely duties. I’m also planning to take a few days sometime in the fall to go on a writing retreat. Nothing particularly organized, just time away from the kids and J, in a place that is pleasant but perhaps sufficiently uninteresting that I won’t spend all day sightseeing, because I really want to just write. I don’t want to feel guilty or that the kids are missing out, so I feel like I need to go somewhere pretty boring. Cleveland?
The question of if and when I look for work again is wide open. I’m well aware that the longer I spend unemployed, the less employable I become. But I’m also feeling a little wary. I mean, look how it went last time around. It’s enough make someone with a stellar and uninterrupted work history gun shy, let alone someone who was listed as “Retired” the last time we had a credit check done, because I’ve been out of work that long. I am ready to go back to work – my brief experience of it earlier this year proved that to me. But I don’t exactly get a say when it comes to this cancer. So I may not wind up being able to look for work on my own terms.
For now, the train just left Baltimore, and the boys’ video is ending, which means that any minute, they will remember I told them we could open the Twix bar I got them after Baltimore, so that their sugar-addled little bodies would not terrorize the rest of the passengers for much more than an hour until DC. I’m trying to accelerate this last week before school… but it isn’t cooperating yet.