"Remember this also: it’s always easy to look back and see what we were, yesterday, ten years ago.
It is hard to see what we are."
If I could sum up this summer in one word, it would be just that- uneasy. Or uncomfortable. The kind of nervous, slightly sad feeling in the pit of your stomach when something- or in this case, many things- just seems off. Like the summer cold we all seem to have, I'm bundled up in bed in my sweatshirt even though I should be chasing Millie and Walter at a park. It isn't supposed to be like this.
There has been good in these June, July, and now August days. Everyone in the family has had a birthday (except me), and it is always fun to share cake and see the joy over presents and balloons. Millie had a milestone birthday, turning 5, and a 5th birthday is its own sort of magic. She and I will start her kindergarten year in September, and we're busy preparing for it. Sky and I have been doing noticeably better, and it's a relief to feel that again. And though Walter has had a few moments of definite two year old actions, he's still as cuddly and sweet as ever.
But circumstances beyond my control have made my heart a little weary, a little unsure. It's like the tornado sirens the city tested this morning; the day is cool and sunny, quite perfect for July, but that ominous sound is hard to shake. It feels wrong.
The most glaringly obvious disruption to our lives has been, of all things, my beloved Illinois. The politics in this state are much less beloved, however, and the state government has been shut down since the end of June. While I won't bore you with pages of my thoughts on the matter, it boils down to a lot of hardship on a lot of people, the poorest people who most need help. And because Sky is a state employee of sorts (also too complicated to explain), we've been left wondering every two weeks whether his paycheck will arrive. After being told to stay home for a whole week, he is back working, but the budget crisis is far from over. I've been spending my nights writing to representatives, no doubt in vain.
A friend moved away this morning. She posted a photo of a Champaign country road, cracked and probably lined with dots of white Queen Anne's Lace and blue chicory, and now she's gone. We've known each other for years but only developed a closer friendship over the last year or so, and that alone makes me sad, because we could have had more time. I shared a lot of common interests with her, more than I have with someone in a long time, and while she's moving on with her life in necessary ways, it's still hard to say goodbye.
And, maybe laughably to some, it's been hard to say goodbye to another friend. Sidnie, one of the few blog friends I have who truly gets me, surprised me with Go Set a Watchman a couple weeks back. I won't spoil the book for anyone, but most people know that Maycomb has changed, Atticus has changed, and even Scout has changed. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorites, and it took root in my own childhood, reading it for school, and then again on a family camping trip. I vividly remember being caught up in Tom Robinson's trial as I sat on a dusty chair by a fire pit in the woods. The new book shakes up what I thought I knew about that Alabama town, and left me unsettled. Harper Lee must have known what my summer would be like when she wrote it, and it matched my mood perfectly.
Earlier, I said that I wanted to write when life had smoothed over into calm again, and I could tell the story from the other side. But like most stories, as some parts resolve, others swiftly change, and so it's best to write as it happens. The unease of the summer of 2015 will melt into sweeter autumn, crisp caramel apples, pencil cases and notebooks, and my favorite part of the year. I am ready to trade the sticky, worried days of August for the promise of golden leaves and lighter hearts.