This is no longer SUMMER! We are now is the milder, declining days of the season. There is, in spite of the weather forecast, a dulling of the green leaves, a ribbon of coolness in the air, a softening of the light that are harbingers of AUTUMN! We are in Summer Light…sort of a gluten-free, fat-free, sodium-free, sugar-free version of the season. It has been repackaged. The look has changed, and so have the ingredients.
Our tomato plants are ignoring this new data. They are producing more tomatoes than any human family can consume with ease. Our chili peppers are still doing calisthenics. The rest of the garden is looking more muted, more willing to relax in the coming weeks.
J has settled nicely into school. All the reports I’m getting say that he takes his thumb immobilizer off to work and eat, and since he is continually occupied with something, the brace is off most of the day. He seems ok with this arrangement, the teacher tells me. I am happy to hear this.
J is also adjusting to the new schedule TGG has. For the past two weeks TGG has been home all day, waited for J to get off the bus, and then left for class. Since his class schedule doesn’t allow for weekday workouts, TGG has been taking J to the gym on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and the rest of the week, J is happily committed to the elliptical machine in our garage. He watches movies while he exercises, and we do our best to keep up with his pace. We are sorely out of shape.
Tomorrow comes yet another change in J’s environment. TGG has a new job. It’s a little outside of his field (ok, A LOT outside of his field,) but it does accommodate his school schedule and the pay isn’t bad and covers his main expenses. This job will also elevate him to a near-deity status with J because TGG will be working at Target.
Yes, the home of Bullseye the Mascot. J’s favorite store. The place where we can easily be found on weekends walking the aisles in the same exact pattern as prescribed by our lovely youngest son. We haven’t told J. He doesn’t even know that TGG interviewed for this job. He doesn’t know that TGG will be donning the red and khaki threads of a Target employee. What J will do when he realizes is something we’re all on pins and needles about…
Our guess is that J will be more than happy to visit his brother at work, promptly plunking down money to make sure the company stays in business. Our guess is that J will expect TGG to keep Bullseye under control. Our guess is that the older brother that is already viewed as something of a superhero will be seen with something of a halo surrounding him. I am hoping for an employee discount, but more than anything I’m happy that TGG has a job.
For the past two weeks, the same kid who flatly refuses to get up when asked has been getting up early and interrupting my brief restorative shut-eye from 8 to 9 a.m. I’ve opened my eyes to be startled by his bright smile and a chirpy “what do you need me to do?????” I’ve sent him to the gym. I’ve sent him to vacuum the TV room. I’ve sent him to check the mail and take the trash. I’ve asked him to gather the laundry and start that chore for me. The same 24 year-old who usually drags his feet when asked to hand me a spoon while I’m cooking has completed every task in record time. Today I asked Dada if it would be unseemly for me to call Target and beg them to cut to the chase and give him a schedule.
I almost cried when he hung up after speaking to his manager and said “I have to be there at 8:30 tomorrow!” By my calculations (which I made faster than any of my Math teachers ever thought possible) that means I have to wait until he calls to say he made it, and then I will have an uninterrupted hour to prepare myself for the daunting task of managing this household. I looked at him and said: “oh, so soon?” The look he gave me told me unequivocally that he knew I was putting on an act. It was sort of worth the try…
So the kids are settling in, and they’re not kids anymore. The nest is properly feathered, and it’s still full of birds, but I’m satisfied that we’re slowly getting into our respective grooves and we’ll soon figure the little bits and pieces of the whole new order out. J is settling in nicely; J is happy; J has actually become more adept at negotiating and accepting things at school, and maybe it’s because he knows it’s the last year. Maybe it’s because I look ragged and tired and middle-aged, and he wants me to know he cares, but…maybe it’s really because he wants to have a good year.
We’ll see. It’s early days yet. Twenty-seven days to AUTUMN! and the skinny, weak side of summer is slowly unraveling. Yes, yes…temperatures in the 80s next week, but we had those last week and they lacked the usual bite. Let’s face it…it’s almost over. We’re about to go back to boots and sweaters and jackets and scarves and soups and stews and pumpkin and blankets and cocoa.
It’s ok. It wasn’t The Most Fantastic Summer Ever, but we made it through and we learned a lot. We picked up a new friend (the brace,) and lost a few others (patience comes to mind.) We are here on the other side of the last ESY, and on the opening bars of the Last School Year Ever! I’m sure we’ll slip and fall, and we’ll get overwhelmed before it’s all said and done, but so far we’re humming…