Working Summer

Woke up at a little after 4 this morning. Thought I’d get back to sleep. Probably should have, but the old mind started goin round and round with all that was before me. Dad’s final and 52nd Baroque festival is just three weeks away and I’ve done little meaningful promotion. Lists appear in my mind, so many things pop up that I’ve yet to deal with. Things that really should have been taken care of weeks ago. Sigh. Guess I’m up. I make a pot of coffee and begin to put away the dishes. Nearly every one in the house was dirty yesterday and I am supremely satisfied to have pulled it together and gotten them all done. Soon they will be away, the profile of the kitchen once again clean. If it weren’t, I’m not sure I’d be able to get down to business. (Anyone else? A cluttered house zaps me of my focus.)

I have so much to do, yet I can’t help but feel Elihu needs something to occupy him other than chasing the rooster around. We’ve enjoyed some full-on fun days lately, each jam-packed with lots of fun kid stuff, so I can’t worry too much about it. This is the time of summer in which the shit hits the fan with dad’s concert and there’s a lot of time needed at desk, phone and computer, and for a couple of weeks I just can’t be the super mommy I usually endeavor to be. I can hear my own mother’s voice in my head “Cryin out loud, you don’t need to entertain the kid all day long!” I know I don’t, but I always feel a little bad in that it’s just him. You know, the only child thing.

I think back to my own childhood in this very place. Long, hot, humid and buggy days just my brother and me. I guess we must have made our own fun – yet I do remember well that boredom was a pronounced part of summer. There were long stretches with nothing to do. (Because my dad was busy with the same festival I am now, and my mom was working.) And I think of my son. He’s got it better in some ways – chickens, trampoline, garden of his own creation, loads of art supplies and a huge desk – even the internet (yes, I let my son wander there alone for now. Pretty much all he does is search you tube for birding videos), yet I can’t help but feel a little bad about his solitude.

Last night, as we mapped out the weeks ahead, I apologized for the next few days in which I’d need to be in the office, but reminded him that the following week we were taking the bikes and going to the middle school parking lot and I was teaching him how to ride a bike. “Really?” he laughed. “I’m going to learn how to ride a bike?” Guess he didn’t think we’d ever get around to it. I will not allow him to grow up unable to ride a bike like his father. Riding a bike has been one of my life’s greatest pleasures. And while I can’t really see the point riding around here – as I’m more about riding to somewhere than just riding to ride (it takes miles of hilly terrain to reach any meaningful destination and when you get there you’re going to be drenched in sweat) – it is nonetheless something that will one day add to the overall quality of his life. I rode a great deal as a child – miles and miles through the cool woods, the open sunny fields. I’ve eaten a few bugs here in Greenfield coasting down hills, mouth open in the exhilaration of the descent. (I had a blue, 3 speed “Rollfast” model made by who knows. As a kid I was so proud of my aptly named bike.) Elihu hasn’t shown much interest in his bike lately, and of course he’s still on training wheels, but in that he’s got loads of energy and he’s utterly fascinated with achieving speeds like that of a bird, I think he will find a fast-moving bicycle a very happy reward. So that takes care of next week.

Today, it’ll just be the old-fashioned way for him. Like the summer days my mom wouldn’t let me watch Dark Shadows on our teeny black and white TV which only got three channels and then she sighed in exasperation and said we kids shouldn’t be inside on such a beautiful day because we should be outside playing and then virtually shoved us out the door. Like that. Kinda.

I can’t worry about my kid, I’ve got my own work to do right now. It’s going to be a beautiful summer day and he should be outside playing. What he does to enjoy the day is his job.

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