Friday, July 23, 2010

Auld Lang Summer

Today (and yes, I know I'm late again with the blog) I'm taking a Mental Health Day off from the Day Job.

Nope. I'm not writing (except for this.)

Nope. I'm not gonna Twitter (not much, anyway.)

Instead, I'm going to take The Kiddo to her last day of swimming lessons, because this summer she has gone from terrified of water to swimming like a fish, and I have yet to see a stroke of it.

And then I'm going to let her play at her friends' house, while I do something supremely important.

Absolutely nothing productive.

Yep. No projects. No grocery shopping. No back-to-school-clothes shopping. No cleaning. No de-cluttering. No writing. No research on a WIP. No research on agents or publishing houses. No research on DIY projects. Or getting organized. Or chasing down that 25th hour of the day.

I intend to have a summer day like I had when I was ten. Unstructured. Unproductive. Because I've been waaay too productive lately when it comes to my life.

I was somewhat lucky growing up. My mom was at first a stay-at-home mom and then a work-at-home mom. Summers were an endless string of come-what-may days, where there was no rush, no worry, no fuss, no muss.

We were productive, don't get me wrong. My mom was always one to have a project going -- usually building herself yet another kitchen on our hill. Summers also meant produce -- corn, peas, beans, tomatoes, okra, squash. We grew it and picked it and shelled/husked/peeled/cut it, and then we canned or froze it. It was hard work, but it was fun work, and I don't remember any deadlines save for food safety ones.

I remember one day, very clearly, that we'd spent the morning shelling purple hull peas (for you Yankees, think field peas, but much, much better) outside by our pool, where we wouldn't make a mess in the house. Even in the morning, the Georgia heat and humidity sweltered. My mom took one wistful look at the pool, set aside her big pan of shelled peas, and jumped in the pool, clothes and all.

If there was one thing that I could give The Kiddo, it would be a single summer like that: a summer where I didn't have to get up and put on dry-clean-only clothes and go work with my brain all day in an office, while she had to get up early and go to the sitter's. It would be a summer where there was no rush, no worry, no fuss, no muss. And if we had a pool, we would jump in with our clothes on.


Kelly Breakey said...

What a great time to be a kid and what an awesome Mom you had.

I think that is why my husband and I gravitated toward southern climates when we started moving with the Navy.

I wanted to live in a place where you knew your neighbors and the speed of life wasn't Mach one. I don't know if I have found that, but I have found a small spot in this big world that I can call mine.

Now I want to go mix up a pitcher of lemonade and sit out by the pool enjoying the heat.

Patty Blount said...

OH... *wistful sighs* I remember days like that. Not the purple peas thing (am a Yankee), but that unstructured, figure-things-out-as-we-go kind of day.

We used... wait for it... OUR IMAGINATIONS to fill those long days. No gadgets, no screens, no cords, just the neighborhood kids. We were allowed outdoors back then with no supervision. (Not today!)

I remember playing gas station. We'd line up our bicycles drive up to a tree where we'd hung a jump rope and pretend to fill 'er up.

We played endless games of SPUD, hopscotch, frisbee, Hide & Seek, and when it was simply too hot to function, we'd set up sprinklers right on the sidewalk.

I remember being allowed back outdoors after dinner - a true summer luxury. We'd catch lightning bugs. We'd play with flashlights.

My mother stayed home until I was about 8, then worked part time. We stayed with my grandmother and discovered card playing. For hours, we'd play 500 Rummy. She taught us Italian card games I can no longer remember how to play. Scopola and Briscola... I remember the names. I remember that we had to remove all the 8's, 9's, and 10's from the deck, because Italian decks don't have those cards.

My gosh, I remember so much.

When did I forget?

Linda G. said...

Your un-plan for the day sounds positively heavenly. Enjoy every second of it. :)

Piedmont Writer said...

Thanks for bringing back such great memories for me. I remember those summer days. We lived in the city and my mother would defrost the freezer and throw snowballs out the window at us. We would hunt fireflies at night. We would laze on our backs under the trees in the backyard for hours watching clouds, and squirrels and birds. Doing nothing but living to the fullest.

Happy Summer Day to you!

Nelsa said...

It sounds lovely, Cynthia. You deserve it. Enjoy!

Charmaine Clancy said...

I want a day of nothing too! :-)

Al said...

What a great childhood.

Savour your day off and have a wonderful time.

Julie Musil said...

I love that story about your mom. What fun! I hope you enjoyed your day of nothing. Sometimes, that's just what the doctor orders.

Anonymous said...

I love this post.