The trickiest part of my art and heart being connected, and shared in such a public way (yes, we’re calling this art right now since “public display of my narcissism” lacks the same charm) is that chapters of the story have to go untold since not all of the characters in my book of life agreed to this, and their narrative would be different than mine.
(But when I write that non-fiction book posing as fiction, you’re all so screwed, real life people who are hilarious characters.)
I had the summer of lost and found, more or less. I put things down and picked things up all over the place: people, pieces of me, connections, grudges, emotions, perspectives that needed a nudge in a new direction, and cats — so many cats.
There was sadness and joy and drama and excitement and love and pain and literal blood and tears (cats), and it was all kind of terrible and also kind of wonderful.
I had 99 problems, for real, yo. And I still had fun and adventures and laughed until it hurt too many times to count. I'm down to about 9 problems now, which is average for me. So, progress.
Some of it may have seemed destructive but just like a seed has to crack open and shed its broken pieces to grow, so did I. And growth fucking hurts, by the way.
Growing pains are real, but they happen in your soul. It’s disruptive and uncomfortable.
The new thing you’re nurturing usually ends up a thing of beauty, but getting there is a bitch.
And I’m one of those annoying orchid-like plants that needs support so I don’t fall over or start to grow in the wrong direction — “face the sun and drink water” are instructions I can’t consistently manage alone, but I also can’t be overcrowded or I might die. So I routinely become parched and wilt, over-watered and droop; I try to lean on things too unstable to support my growth and pieces of me break off.
I think, “Shit, I’m dying,” at least once a week. Or once a day. Or once an hour.
I don’t have a green thumb for plant life or real life, so it all takes a lot of work to thrive. But I’m more hardy than I feel. Also, I have observant friends — people who are just as willing to pull my weeds as they are to admire my blooms.
I’ve done the plant thing to death, haven’t I? And you still don’t know what I’m talking about. That’s why you should read books, my friends. They are pretty much obligated to clear up all mysteries. Rest assured that whatever you’re imagining is likely much more interesting than what I’ve been dealing with anyway, and that's what I like about you.
Anyway, I had to vague post so that we could close the chapter on this summer. Because it’s over. Thank the sweet baby Jesus in his lovely little swaddling cloths, summer wasn’t really forever.
But here’s a summary of the awesome stuff:
One of my friends bought a gigantic slip and slide. Enough said.
Catfish and I went to a Sowflo concert and got to ride with the band on their party bus. We got to do this because we’re officially, “I am with the band...’s dad” years old. One of their moms was our preschool teacher and we drank with her that night.
Here’s my favorite song of the summer (just a coincidence that the title is so appropriate). I love these guys and their incredible talent. And they're nice young men. I knew I was old when I found myself thinking of how proud their parents must be while watching them perform.
A stray cat had kittens in my back yard. I caught them all and have a feral cat colony in my bathroom and this is actually not a good thing. They make up a good handful of my 99 problems. I got a cute kitten named Calliope out of it though. But, my bathroom probably needs to be renovated now. Again.
I went scallop hunting on vacation and this was amazing fun. It’s like a treasure hunt to search for the ridged shell with the line of blue eyes peeking up from the underwater grasses. I snorkeled for hours, until my entire back was bright pink, and it was worth the eventual agony.
My friend Lyn and I escaped to The Standard, a sexy hotel in Miami Beach. When we got there, some guy at the front desk was complaining about something, and while waiting patiently behind him, I mentioned to her that it had been a dream of mine to stay in one of the rooms that has a claw-foot tub on the canvas-enclosed front patio, and the beautiful woman at the front desk upgraded us on the spot.
We listened to the Hamilton soundtrack all summer long. Big Kid said, “This is the kind of writer I’m going to be when I grow up,” the first time he heard it and little kid cries every single time and knows every word. This is one of those things that sounds little but was so big, and added such an interesting depth to our days and discussions as a family.
Big Kid (and I) successfully survived summer sleep away camp.
Also, I no longer have a child in the single digits age-wise. Not too upset about it, either.
And now the kids are back in school and life is settling down and I can rest easy that summer is not forever, and I am neither lost nor dying, just trying to grow bigger and deeper and brighter as usual.