Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Summer’s Home Stretch, Looking to Fall

I love summer just as much as any other outdoors-loving gardener, so I’m just going to come out and say it.  I’m glad summer’s almost over.  And I only feel a small twinge of guilt for saying so.  My garden’s still producing lots of red tomatoes and the zucchini are still doing well…but the demands on a caretaker’s wife in summer are wearing on me, and I’m afraid I’m burning out.  I feel this way every year starting in mid August, but this is the worst case I’ve had yet.  Maybe it’s because Nathan’s crazy toddlerhood is wearing me out and I could use a little help.  Maybe it’s because I’m tired of doing everything myself, by myself, and feeling like a single parent most of the time.

Or maybe it’s because I’m tired of having no family life and interrupted family dinners, or nonexistent ones.  Or maybe I’m sick of seeing my husband dote on someone else’s family while ours feels neglected on the back burner, without a support system nearby. 

It’s hard to describe this feeling—it’s more than just burnout from physical tasks.  There’s an emotional component that can leave me feeling depressed, overwhelmed, lonely, mentally exhausted and almost physically sick—and sometimes wishing for a different kind of life.  One where I don’t have to share my husband with anyone outside of our family.

The straw fields are my favorite view in early summer; by late August they signal that fall is near.  Thank God!

Goodbye, Summer, I am counting down the days.  For, after Labor Day, I’ll get my husband back, and Nathan will have his father back, and we can feel whole again.  And maybe I’ll get to rest a bit.  I’m hoping we can take a mini-vacation to the beach; we haven’t been away together in three years, and Nathan’s never had a family vacation.

Summer is just a few months out of the year; I don’t know how military families do it for years at a time while husbands (and wives!) fight abroad.  Maybe the noble cause does something to offset the strain on the family.  Or maybe the built-in support system and benefits help to make a difference.  It’s quite possible that military wives (and husbands) are stronger—and less whiny—than I am.

I’m looking forward to the extra quality family time outdoors this fall and establishing a new and better rhythm.  Cool, crisp air and low humidity.  The brilliantly colored leaves—and the earthy smell of brown ones.  Collecting acorns, seed pods and whatever else we find that strikes us.

The last two weeks are always the hardest to get through.  But knowing we’re in the home stretch certainly helps.  The farm will be beautiful this fall.  Even if the fields, well, aren't.

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