July is closing itself out this weekend and just like our lawn, I feel like the Summer heat is slowly wilting my spirit. Every day a little more brown and a little more crunchy. I’ve never been especially fond of Summer. I’d even go so far as to say it’s my least favorite season. I didn't care for the long stretches of being out of school, and I certainly never preferred to work Summer jobs or go to Summer school (to get ahead, not remediate...). I like my regular September–May life. The time when the weather is actually inspiring of happy emotions and has such nice and varying character. Each season brings its own holidays and new life.
It’s in that context that every day with Alice seems longer than the one before it. Every day I feel just a little bit more tired. The span between the weekends feels like it's growing. Alice's amazing mobility, the actual amount of daylight, and my own workload - both professionally and as a DIY dad - have all increased to the point where it makes me feel like if it gets any harder than this, I won't be able to do it. I just survived a pretty good stretch of extra music work I do on the side as a quasi-hobby, but it took about every minute of the past few weekends to get done. Simultaneously, I'm giving our back yard redo every bit of sweat and energy I have left, but the jacaranda stump is really just decimating the time I have to get this project done. Oh, and then there's the garage that screams daily at me for its own mega organization and rehab. The best thing I can do is concentrate on one thing at a time, and do my best to not let the pressures of the other projects crush me. These are all projects I want to get done, and I want to do them with my own hands.
I'm a worrier and I let things overwhelm me at times, but I think I am really good at adjusting my attitude and expectations to accommodate life. I believe so much of your own happiness lies almost exclusively in your own hands, and since I volunteered for all of this (and would do so again), this is most valuable option I have available to me. Sure, I can make small tweaks to my downtime to maximize recovery, but mostly it's just my attitude. I could also hire professionals to put in our back yard, but that's not who we are. The joy of beautifying your space with your own hands just can't be bought. And besides, I will conquer that jacaranda once and for all. It's taunted my manhood for three years and I will be the one to free it from the earth. (Unnecessarily dramatic?) The thing I need to remember most is all of these projects can happen on their own schedule. Raising a fourteen month-old takes a lot out of a person. I'm still not really sure how my parents doubled the size of their house themselves with two toddlers underfoot, but that will always inspire me to know that this is all possible. Not easy, but possible, and worth the sacrifice.
|my dad, building a house with a toddler literally underfoot.|
I'll ride out the remaining weeks of Summer, eagerly awaiting the smell of the air that reminds me of going back to school. I'll keep my mind occupied with visions of my favorite time of year. Pumpkin pancakes, Thanksgiving, PIE!, cider, cool nights with early bedtimes, the smell of the heater, my October birthday, Sierra Nevada's Fall Tumbler, eating left-over Halloween candy well into November, just to name a few things I love. I'll find my groove. If you haven't yet seen Disney's new Winnie the Pooh film, you should, but also to see the short attached to the front of it. I won't spoil it, but its message really hits home with me: be honest with your feelings and through that, you'll find a better way forward.