Where did summer go?

One minute I’m swatting away pesky gnats while watching my son play baseball, and the next I’m dodging lightning bolts while timing participants of last Saturday’s CharVegas Mud, Sweat & Tears obstacle race.

Where did summer go?!!!

mac at deep creek dashI didn’t think we were over-scheduled. Daughter Moira doesn’t play softball and I kept my races to a five-year low. And yet here we are, Labor Day Weekend, and I’m wondering where the last three months went.

I remember being 5-years-old and sitting outside with my mom. It must’ve been a late August afternoon when I said to her, “Summer went fast.” I remember it so vividly because it was one of the few times Mom agreed with me, adding, “They go quicker every year.”

From ‘hospital corners’ to hanging laundry, my mom has dealt us her share of “pearls” but this was one that’s stayed with me because she couldn’t have been more right. In the nearly 40 summers since she said that, it’s unbelievable how each year the months of June, July and August fly by with increasing speed.

Where did June go?

We planned for this month to be low-key given the oral bone graft surgery daughter Moira had in mid-May. We were prepared for six weeks of slow, but the surgery went so well with bone being harvested from the mouth vs. the hip, that it hardly caused a hitch in her giddy up.

While she wouldn’t be cleared to eat hard foods until late June or go biking or swimming until August, her tan legs are proof of the hours she spent peacefully swaying on a porch swing that her brother and I built and attached to the frame of their old swing set.

I think of those days and forget about the flurry that was June. Son Maclane’s baseball schedule and Marty’s second year as general manager of the Charlotte Little League made it feel like the Charlotte ball diamond was a second home.

More than once did I laud friends who had multiple children on multiple teams, doffing my cap at their seemingly relaxed ability to catch each game and hardly break a sweat. I could barely squeeze in a game or two of nephews Jacob and Nic Reemstma.

But June was more than post-op recovery and baseball, it was also when my parents left the homestead and moved into DeWitt, when I stepped up to the direct the annual Paul Skeffington Memorial Race while also training for my first QC sprint triathlon.

Mom and Dad’s move was arduous in both physical and emotional ways while the Skeff Race and QC Tri were intimidating learning experiences. Fortunately I had wonderful committee members willing to hold my hand and fabulous training partners who coached me along.

And then suddenly it was Independence Day.

Where did July go?

The 4th always hits me with a dose of melancholy as it seems to herald summer’s swan song. And given Mom and Dad’s move “to town,” our annual watching of the Grand Mound fireworks from their house was now a thing of the past. All of us let the holiday go without much fanfare.

Just when we was ready to breathe a relaxed sigh that baseball was over, we realized the county fair was mere weeks away and neither child had started their fair projects. Any post-baseball bliss was kicked away by oodles of stripping, painting, sanding and varnishing.

Add to this Marty’s brief visit to New Orleans for a work conference, my participation in a 70.3 Ironman, a running of the Bix and the four of us at a Chicago Cubs game, and our cats were the only ones enjoying any sort of downtime.

And then we were driving to Wisconsin!

Where did August go?

During the first week of August, we took ourselves off the grid (well, ok, there was wifi) for a week along the shores of Moose Lake in Wisconsin’s Northwoods.

We swam, I biked, we boated, they fished. I taught Maclane how to play Gin Rummy while Marty and Moira shared secrets around the campfire. We listened to the Loons, hoped to spot the otters and bears, but mostly did a lot of nothing. It was heavenly.

And then we came back and went immediately to the State Fair, and then Northeast and Central school districts started school, and then I headed off to participate on a 6-person Ragnar Great River relay covering 200 miles in 36 hours. I’d done it before, but the heat got to me and all I can say is I survived and we weren’t last.

And then there was last weekend’s Charlotte Days with the first CharVegas Mud, Sweat & Tears obstacle race, which Maclane and buddy Isaac Trenkamp (and his mom, Patti) all completed during Saturday morning’s booming thunderstorm. While the storms put a damper on the crowds, the clouds cleared for Sunday’s 3rd annual Deep Creek Dash squirt gun 5k that will fund scholarships for local would-be Little Leaguers in the 2015 season.

What a fitting cap to such a busy summer! Despite the storms on Saturday, the drenched and dirty participants were all smiles. And though our 5k race is small, hovering around 40 runners and walkers, this year had a “golly gee Beave” sort of joy to it.

I may be tired, but it certainly was a great summer.


Originally published 30 August 2014 in The Observer.

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