Fair warning: steam-of-consciousness is usually bad. The following is definitely stream-of-conscious writing.
It’s 12:19 a.m. and I’m sitting up drinking Diet Mountain Dew and trying to write the final three chapters of the book. I spent the first part of the summer turning out chapters like a machine. A MACHINE, I tell you. Just joking. But I was moving a heap faster than I am now. The turning point to inefficiency came when I walked out the door to begin the annual trek to Texas. Remind me to tell some stories about that one sometime. I owe Louisiana another “curse you” post. Louisiana owes me 5 gazillion dollars. And 14 years. Because that’s what it has taken off my life just in having to constantly drive through it to see the people I love. Sheeeeeesh-kabobs. But this isn’t about that.
Did you ever hear the Carly Simon song “You’re So Vain”? You’re so vain. I bet you think this song is about you. You’re so vain. I bet you think this song is about you, don’t you? Don’t you? Don’t you? As a kid, that song drove me NUTS. I would say to my dad, “But it IS about them! How dumb is that?” And he would always reply, “That’s the whole point.” But it ISN’T the point. No, it isn’t. Dear Louisiana, this post is not about you. So step off already and pay me my money and give me back my life.
So when I left for Texas, I could see the end of my summer ahead on the horizon. And I could see that I had done nothing but write to that point. I needed to get cracking on living a little. I needed to soak up the last of it. And we have. We spent 13 days traveling to and from Texas. We spent 7 days at the beach. And we’ve been swimming and laughing and ignoring the looming date of August 23, which is our first day of school. So now that I’m living large, I’m not writing so much. Balance has never been my gift.
It will always be the summer of Emma. Oh, the laughter. And it will be the summer of the book. And it’s the summer my sweet old Papa passeder from this side of Eternity to the real one, leaving us to turn a page and be an older generation in just a matter of hours. It’s the summer I did a few things wrong and a few things right. And the summer I learned more than I have in the last year. And the summer I was on a diet, but gained 5 pounds from sitting in a chair behind my computer. The summer of the house renovations. The summer of decisions. And change. And the sadness that comes along with change for me. And the hope of the changes being great ones.
It was a spectacular summer. I’ll never forget it. And tomorrow marks my final day of summer. Tomorrow I’m going with friends to the beach for a last flinging of ourselves into the sand and surf. And pizza. And the Candy Kitchen. We will stay until it gets dark and then we will return much too late considering what Saturday will be like.
Saturday will be the funeral of my Papa. He was a grand, godly gentleman. Handsome. Funny. Sweet. Endearing. 95 years old. We wanted him to go, because he was so, so tired. He was ready. But knowing he’s gone feels lonely. He can’t whack me on the back in his “too much love” kind of way anymore. No more big squeeze hugs or stories about World War II. But now he’s part of that great cloud of witnesses and I hope he’ll cheer me on as I keep doing some things wrong and hopefully a few more things right. I have no regrets with him. I don’t think he had many either. It’s a good way to go. My son, Mama’s Boy, told me that he wants to die the same way Papa did…except he’d rather be 92 and not 95. 95 is a little too old, he said. He lost a little bit of zip these last three years. Oh, Mama’s Boy. I wish I could stick around and watch him turn into an old man. What a funny grandfather he’ll be.
Yesterday I was reflecting on my grandfather and how blessed we are that my children will remember their great-grandfather. They still have 4 living grandparents and up to a year ago, had 2 great-grandfathers still alive. That’s pretty superb. Thank you, God, for that.
They say a picture is worth 1000 words. So it seems completely unnecessary that I smacked you around with 800 words before showing you some pictures. Sorry about that. A girl will do anything to avoid finishing the third to last chapter of her book.
Those are the words of my summer. And here are just a fraction of the images. There will be more. But a chapter is calling me…