Summer’s End

By Beck

I am cooking again after a practically summer-long sabbatical – my husband barbecued a lot and I don’t know what else we did, but I’m fairly certain that I did pretty much no cooking between June and this past week. It was too hot and I was too depressed and so my kitchen was just a place I passed through on my way to other parts of the house.

This week has seen a remarkable cold snap, though (it’s ten today. TEN.) and with it has returned my interest in cooking. In the past few days,  I’ve made manicotti and an applesauce-carrot quick bread – yucky – and brownies and homemade macaroni and cheese and snickerdoodles and possibly I should take up sewing so I can make us all elastic waist pants if I keep this up. And my kids have been delighted at my nearly-forgotten cooking skill, delighted that there is this sudden fount of cookies and pasta and gross, untouched quick bread taking up residence in the kitchen.

The kids sprouted up over the summer, which kind of hints that they were eating something, and now all three of them are lanky and tall in their new jeans, even The Baby who has just never been tall or lanky before, not for a minute in her life. The Boy and The Baby and I walked alllll the way over to The Girl’s school and we went in to wait for The Girl to come bursting out at the end of the day and The Baby walked curiously up and down the hallway, all swinging long hair and big kid and no baby left, at all.

“What are you making for dinner tonight?” The Girl said to me when she came out of class, pausing first only to hoist her tall, tall little sister up on her hip and show her off to her friends. I was strangely warmed by this, like I was a real, dependable mother and not some weirdo caught up in a prolonged imposture. And then I went home and made dinner, which was meatloaf. And it both disturbs and amuses me how much adulthood still feels just like playing adulthood, like some weird game of house that just does not end.

“I had to write a paragraph on what I did this summer,” The Girl told me at suppertime as she very carefully avoided accidentally ingesting any meatloaf atoms. “And that is when I realized that we did absolutely nothing fun all summer.” And because I am not depressed anymore, I laughed out loud instead of falling into a prolonged silent meditation on how Nothing Fun Ever Happens, and listed off about 50 super-fun things we DID do, and she laughed and said that she’d written about riding on the bumper cars this summer, the wild ride that went so fast and ended almost as soon as she’d figured out how to steer the spinning car.

17 Responses to Summer’s End
  1. Nicole
    September 9, 2010 | 5:13 pm

    So glad you are in a good place! Parenting does seem surreally unreal at times, doesn’t it? Like, I’m actually someone’s real parent! Crazy!

    It’s NINE here today. So chilly and cold and I am going to make soup.

  2. LHash
    September 9, 2010 | 5:20 pm

    I don’t know how people in temperate climates survive. I love autumn when I can fire up the stove and make granola and not worry about sending us to the hospital w/ heat stroke.

    Glad you are not depressed anymore.

  3. JoAnn Hallum
    September 9, 2010 | 5:27 pm

    it’s gonna be 90 here this weekend. Just in time for me to move. Horray.
    You are hilarious by the way.

  4. deidre aufiero
    September 9, 2010 | 5:29 pm

    great closing metaphor.

    I’m impatiently waiting out a depression that’s going on its fifth week. I wish it could have ended before school started because I’m making a crazy lady impression at the beginning of school, which I and my reputation could do without.

  5. Marta
    September 9, 2010 | 7:07 pm

    Beck – I don’t know what it is about you, but I almost cried over this posting. I love your writing.

  6. Jodie
    September 9, 2010 | 8:10 pm

    You have such a magical view of the world.

    …and this sentence: “…adulthood still feels just like playing adulthood, like some weird game of house that just does not end.” That’s EXACTLY what it feels like. A very strong sense of, how did I get here? I’m quite sure I’m ill-prepared and unqualified.

    I love reading you Beck. You put an entirely different spin on things than what goes on in my head – and I quite like it. 🙂

  7. Omaha Mama
    September 9, 2010 | 8:34 pm

    Now that I’m home full time…I get a little caught up in the day-to-day, “oh, I need to clean the kitchen AGAIN”. And then I do. I think my favorite part of your great post here is how you compared adulthood to playing adulthood. Because it really is. Minus the crayon cigarettes.

  8. Jenifer
    September 10, 2010 | 12:00 pm

    I can relate to that playing adult feeling, some days I look around and think how did this all happen!

    Glad you are feeling like yourself.

  9. Kat
    September 10, 2010 | 1:18 pm

    More often than not these days I am feeling like an actor in a role instead of an actual mother. Very strange. I don’t remember when I became an adult and all of a sudden here I am. The dependable caretaker. Huh?

    So glad the girl thought of one thing she enjoyed this year. 😉 hehe

    Also very glad the depression has lifted. Mine usually starts mid-fall. Well, it is actually more like melancoly, but still, I’m sure it is coming. *sigh* 😉

  10. Tracey - JustAnotherMommyBlog
    September 11, 2010 | 12:30 pm

    Nothing fun at all… Typical. I still feel like we’re playing house, too…

  11. Painted Maypole
    September 11, 2010 | 11:58 pm

    I’m pleased to hear you have passed through to the other side. I think I’m in a passing stage myself. Not quite there, but not quite in the other place, either. Looking forward to the other side.

  12. John Ross
    September 14, 2010 | 8:27 am

    Sorry it took me 4 days to get to this – stuff happening with health, etc.

    This was good to read, in a “Yay, I’m not the only one!” kind of way.

    I guess in times of NO BIG FUN, we have to work on having lots of small funs. We may find, in latter years, that those turn out to be just as important, just as memorable.

  13. John Ross
    September 14, 2010 | 8:28 am

    p.s. I think many, many of us find ourselves “playing adulthood”.

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