I wrote the following Introspective for the P.R.O.S.P.E.C.T.S. newsletter in the autumn of 1993. Things have changed considerably since those days! I now enjoy every single moment of summer … proof that things do indeed get better with time.
Please enjoy, “Bathe in the happiness of today” – Reprised.
Each winter, I can’t wait for summer. And each summer, I can’t wait for it to end. This year, I told myself that summer was going to be okay … or else!
Each summer brings to all families a certain challenge. School is out, kids are home, and we constantly hear, “What can I do? I’m bored!” Patience is at a premium and wits are often at end.
For our family, summer presents a challenge unlike any other. For our Laura, summer means a break in the schedule that provides her sense of security. Without her schedule, she experiences lack of sleep and “behaviour” problems – a sort of prolonged panic attack. We must somehow establish a strict routine within the topsy turvy atmosphere of summer. This is, as you can imagine, difficult, especially when there is brother Robbie who thrives on the excitement of the unstructured summer holiday.
This summer began much like any other. My stomach started churning by mid-March in anticipation of the dreaded summer break. By the end of June, each night brought to me nightmares, each day, anxiety. What would happen this year? How much damage would be done – to our home, to my fragile psyche? Would I be able to remain calm and loving during my constant vigil? Would I survive this year’s summer crisis?
Summer arrived quite unexpectedly one day. I prayed for strength. As each day ended, I was thankful and amazed that Laura was okay! No panic attacks. No “behaviour.” Could this be real? The real test was soon to come – a three-day trip! The anticipation was horrible.
We had a great time! We even slept! No “behaviour!” No problem.
But it just had to be too good to be true. Home again – I waited for the crash. Nothing.
Camp, visiting friends, shopping, swimming, playing. I waited. No crash!
It didn’t come until the end of July. It didn’t come for four whole weeks! Four weeks of fun, excitement, changes – summer as summer should be. It was truly a miracle. I was a witness and I was blessed.
Finally, the crash did come, and it came hard. I had been waiting for it, and it didn’t disappoint me. It came. And within a week, I had forgotten how wonderful those first four weeks had been.
I was tired. I was sad. I was angry. I felt robbed. I felt at once everything and nothing at all. I was numb and in shock. How could everything fall apart so quickly. What could I do. Survive! But I had had a taste of living, and it tasted good! I wanted more, but what could I do. The answer eluded me.
Then it came to me. Not a blinding revelation. More a slow seepage of knowledge. I had been intent on remembering the past, dreading the future – not living in the present. I was so worried about the anticipated crash that I could not really enjoy the miracle of four great weeks. I came to realize that I need to bask in the present. Live one day at a time. Bathe in what happiness can be found in today. Be grateful. So easy to say; so difficult to do.
So, today, I vow to live for today, to enjoy each day’s gifts, to be a witness to even the smallest of miracles, to be grateful for the many gifts I have been given, and to focus on the positive. Tomorrow I will vow again, and the next day, again. And I will refuse to just survive – I will live.
Until the next crisis …