This is it: officially the last day of my summer vacation. Some people will have zero sympathy for me because, after all, I have three months of summer vacation! True, kind of. Actually, I have three months when I do not have to leave the house, and I do make my own schedule, but in reality, I have three months of “re.” For three months, I read, realize, rearrange, rebound, recollect, reconcile, reconnect, reconsider, record, rectify, recuperate, redo, redouble, refer, refine, reflect, refresh, regroup, reinforce, rejuvenate, relax, remake, remember, remodel, renovate, repair, research, resolve, resorb, respond, restore, resume, revamp, review, reword, rework, rewrite, and did I say read?
I’m not complaining; I love my work, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. However, I view my summers not as “time off” but rather as a time of “work-life balance.” During the academic year, the balance is decidedly missing, which is why it feels so bitter-sweet to be entering into a new academic year.
Summer 2015 had some fine moments, including and especially time I spent reconnecting with friends and family. I spent a wonderful afternoon in the park in Billings with my bff Sarah and my honorary grandsons. During the same trip, I shared lunch with my dear, dear friend from long, long ago, Julie, and then dinner with another dear friend from just as long ago, Cinda. I had lunch with my sweet cousin Paula and my sisters, Terri and Julie. Danell met me for tea and talk one afternoon, and we ran out of time before we ran out of talk. Dinner with my parents and sisters one night rounded out a week of great (and excessive) eating and catching up with important people.
Chuck, I and our “kids,” Basco and Rosie, took our motorhome out a couple times and spent some quiet time near water, and I spent several afternoons kayaking with my bff June. Every day offered time for a 3-5 mile jaunt, and I even read a couple books for “fun.”
Summer 2015 also was a summer of loss, the death of my much-loved Basco, which followed the April loss of my deeply-loved Aunt Shirley, a loss I’ve yet to write about. Winnie the Pooh said, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying good-bye so hard;” he’s right, and I realize that without loss, I could not know the value of 13 years of a faithful, loving dog, or 53 years of the constant presence of my loving, strong, principled Aunt Shirley, or 3 months’ time to find balance and “re.”