Summertime: brightness, warmth, frivolity, and freedom.
The doldrums of winter are gone. The door is closed on the cold.
It’s finally Summer.
Up until last year, for Mac, the summer season didn’t just mean that school was out. It didn’t just mean that it was warm and he could enjoy all that sweltering Mississippi mid-year heat brings. It didn’t just mean baseball and the pool and fishing at the Country Club lake.
For him, it meant unlimited Charles time.
Tax season was over. Extensions weren’t due until October. Daddy had more free time in the summer than other other time of the year. He took off every Wednesday afternoon to play golf. His lunches may last a little more than his usual hour. He may leave the office a little before 5. And when he cut out early or went back to work late, many times it was because he wanted to do something with Mac.
After some frustration late this afternoon while trying to figure out where he could go and what he could do, Mac plopped down in a chair in front of me and did something he has never done before.
And when I asked him up what was the matter he said 3 words:
“Charles. It’s Summer.”
Up until last summer, for me, the season was a happy time, a free time, a time for shorts and flip-flops and pony tails and no make up. It was also a frustrating time, because my kids are out of school and since I don’t work on a schedule every single day, when they see me home, they think I’m their chauffer, their chef, their playmate.
But every summer before last one, I could count on Charles to fill in the gaps.
But not last summer.
Last summer was The Dark Summer.
But because it was Last Summer, so many people made sure that Mac was occupied all the time, and I don’t think he quite grasped how deep and wide Charles’ absence was.
I didn’t realize how foggy I was last summer, except that all I felt was his absence.
I barely remember last summer, but I’m feeling last summer now, while my child is feeling every summer before last summer.
It’s Summer, and I feel like I’m on a path that is leading to something cataclysmic. I feel like something horrifying, something beyond horrifying, something incomprehensible, something unbearable, something detrimental, something devistating is just around the next corner.
Because this time last summer, it was.
I just didn’t know it.
It’s Summer, and I feel like I’m on a countdown. I feel like I’m walking through all of the steps of last summer, because this time last summer, I knew my daddy wasn’t acting like my daddy, but this time last summer, I could have saved my daddy.
But I didn’t.
It’s Summer, and Mac is restless, and this summer, he has figured out why he is so frustrated when he is restless….because he can’t call the one person who would drop everything to come pick him up, take him to do whatever he wanted to do, just because he answered the phone.
It’s Summer, and I am restless, because with every new day, I’m back on this day last year, trying to figure out what I could have said, what he didn’t say, what I could have done, what I should have heard differently that he did say, what he inferred, what I inferred, what I didn’t take seriously, what he didn’t tell me was serious.
It’s Summer, and all Mac wants is to go back so he can spend more time with his Charles.
It’s Summer, and all I want is to go back so I can rescue my daddy.
It may be Summer, but not the summer I’ve always loved.
The sun may shine brighter and hotter, but not in this house. Not in my world.
Not in Mac’s, either.
Daddy, it’s Summer.
But you are making it feel like winter all year long.