Sunday, August 31, 2008

You gotta do what you gotta do

I woke up to the smell of late summer/early fall. It is hard to describe a smell. If this one had a color, it would be lemon yellow, not the brighter, crisper color and smell of real autumn. I am still close enough to my latest hospital stay that when I breathe in a sweet smell like this, I take a moment to be thankful that I’m out of lockup.

I also heard a strange sound. It was the sound of the washer and dryer running in tandem. All summer I had been after Joe to keep up with his wash. Now he was making up for lost time. He leaves for college tomorrow, and, true to his word, he was getting it done. It seemed like just yesterday that he had come home from Bates for the summer and the house was an obstacle course of laundry, suitcases, hockey stuff, books, sheets and towels, blankets, sleeping bag plus stuff he had accumulated during his first year away from home.

It seems like he just finished putting it all away and now it is time to take it all back out.
(And of course if I follow that thought all the way through, it seems like yesterday that I brought my premature second child home from the hospital.)

This is the time of year when everyone wonders where the summer went, when the first leaves helicoptering down from the trees fill us with melancholy and at the same time bring the anticipation of new beginnings.

My summer seemed especially fast, probably because I “missed” most of the spring by being in the hospital so much. Of course since I was alive, I didn’t actually miss it, but it wasn’t the same as being on the outside to welcome the longer days.

I’ve been watching Joe pack; I guess you could say I’ve been hovering, becoming more of a “helicopter parent” than I usually am. It seems like he was happy to be home but is happy to be going back to school.

I asked him if he had had enough summer, if he was ready to leave.

“You gotta do what you gotta do,” he said.

Same goes for me, from letting my children spread their wings, to fighting a nasty disease, and to getting back on the tennis court and getting back to running.

Same goes for all of us. We gotta do what we gotta do.


PJ said...

I can so relate to that photo! Yes, summer did seem to fly by. This is my third summer with a gardening ban, so I feel especially disconnected from the seasons. If you're driving your son to Bates, have a safe trip. If not, hope his departure goes smoothly and doesn't leave you feeling blue.

Susan C said...

Ronni, you write so beautifully. I could smell the scents and see the colors and feel the emotions.

Anonymous said...

I find the return to school a good news/bad news event. The good news is the return of the house to somewhat a state of "normalcy". The bads news is the loss of your child's daily companionship which as they grow older becomes so much more enjoyable. You captured the sentiment so well.

Anonymous said...

You captured the moment so well, which I can relate to having just sent my daughter back to school after having spent a summer with piles of clothes and books on her floor! I think she finally had to clean it up because she needed to find the things to take back with her. For me, the bitter/ sweet part of having a college aged child is that they are doing most of their growing up away from us, which is normal and appropriate, but then we don't get to witness them becoming more and more interesting all the time. Hopefully they come back to us, not to live here anymore, but to share with us their new found selves.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I hated to see 'em go. But they still "hovered" around and were back for holidays, vacation and side trips...and laundry trips.

Laundry and grown children.

Such fond memories you brought back...or so I try to convince myself of. I used to complain about all the clothes and underwear she had. Bushels full!!! Then I realized that she bought enough so she could stretch it out for about FIVE WEEKS until she came for a "visit". One day I asked her why she did save on quarters at a laundry mat she replied. Groan.

The other week, my 28 year old son stopped by to wash his clothes, monthly visit of course (the only time he would stop by unless I invited him to a dinner!) ... and mentioned that he thought my dryer was on its way out. I asked him what the problem was. He said that after drying the FOURTH or FIFTH load of clothes it stopped running. I told him he overheated the @!~&%^$%#! dryer!!!! Yeah, to save on quarters too...groan.

Kids, you gotta love them...I think...!

Just think, soon your son too will be back...with more laundry!!!!!!!!!!!


Nancy said...

Your perserverence is an inspiration. Each day is a gift for us all and noticing the scents and the changing seasons makes life all the sweeter. Your words really touched my soul.