The Summer That Almost Wasn't
"Don't you dare complain about the heat," was my mantra this summer. After the Boston winter of 2015 -- or as some of us call it, Snowmeggedon -- I was going to relish every single degree the mercury climbed. I was prepared to have the summer to top all summers.
As fate would have it, that didn't quite happen. My summer was consumed by three life events.
First, my 93-year-old mother (whose vitality made her seem more like 73) suffered a heart attack only three days after arriving from her home in Florida to celebrate Molly, my youngest's high school graduation. Mom spent two weeks in the hospital and nine weeks in a nursing and rehabilitation facility before returning home at the end of August, just two days before we drove Molly to college.
The second event that almost killed my summer was a case of chronic hives that I developed in May. I've been diagnosed with chronic idiopathic urticaria or CID. After countless doctor visits, blood tests, a CAT scan and minor surgery to remove a lymph node, there is still no explanation for why I have hives. I console myself knowing that this is not a life-threatening condition (as three of my friends deal with cancer). But the itch is really annoying and causes me sleepless nights.
Finally, I prepared Molly for her freshman year of college. Molly is my baby, the youngest of my three children. When people say the third child is the easiest because he or she has to tag along to all the older sibling's activities, don't believe them. From birth, Molly has had to make her presence known and command the same attention as her siblings (if not more). Molly's "To Do" list for college was long and always urgent.
Although my summer was unusual, I did things to make it feel like summer. One of my pleasures was the daily drive to and from visiting my mom. She was in a facility located about a half-hour from where I live. The fastest route was a three-lane highway populated by trucks, traffic lights and every type of driver imaginable. But I found a direct back-roads route, with little to no traffic lights, shaded by trees, that weaved by ponds and sparsely-traveled railroad tracks. Even on the hottest days, I turned off the air conditioning, rolled my car windows down all the way and let the summer heat infuse my soul.
Labor Day is now behind us, which to many, means the unofficial end of summer. Not to me. I'm going to milk every last ounce of sunshine and degree on the thermometer that I can. There's still 13 more days until autumn officially starts, and sadly, winter's not that far behind.