I flunked Spanish in college.
Apparently, you cannot communicate effectively reading from a Mexican restaurant menu (which was my textbook) or by repeatedly saying, “Hola!” All I remember from my first semester was my professor shaking his head sadly at me saying, “No, no, no…Juanita.” It was quite a blow to the ego. Typically, I was a good student who knew how to beat the academic system and make a decent grade. Spanish called my bluff.
My college advisor was perplexed. I entered college at the age of 16 with college credit already under my belt. I was the Doogie Houser of school. My parents worried that I might stay in school forever and they weren’t far from the mark…especially with a foreign language requirement and a southern girl who had a thick dialect that forced her to pronounce her best friend’s name (Ann) with 2 syllables (A-unn). My foreign language options were few. A dead language my only viable choice.
I loved Latin. I still do. I like knowing the root of things. I like definitions.
Unfortunately, this year for me is hard to define. I really don’t have a handle on it. I’m way out of my comfort zone and there is so much I don’t understand. I’m just as confused and dumbfounded as I was in Spanish class. Everyone’s speaking, but nothing makes sense.
That’s what summer’s like for me this year. There’s a whirr of sound and activity all around me, but I’m alone and wishing it would end. I never expected it to be so hard. I had this crazy idea that no school and a new routine would be a good change. I couldn’t wait to escape to the beach. I couldn’t wait to send the kids to camp. I couldn’t wait to…feel different. But I was delusional to believe that I wouldn’t feel Chris’ absence. Going to the beach you are surrounded by families enjoying a vacation. Taking the kids to camp, I’m forced to drive (not my forte), navigate (definitely not my gift), and maintain “peace through strength” by holding a “bad spoon” for any sibling scraps that break out. Even worse, our grill sits silent on my deck, rusting and waiting.
Friday afternoons and the summer were my favorites. They represented freedom, time off…a break. Now, they only serve as a reminder of what’s missing. I haven’t really known what to do with myself without some of my favorites: Fridays, summer, and of course, Chris.
I look at my watch a lot. I’ve paid close attention to the passage of time, and I certainly didn’t miss that on June 21st, 2010 at 7:28 AM , we celebrated the summer solstice. It’s the longest day and shortest night of the year. Sol + stice derives from a combination of Latin words meaning “sun” and “to stand still.” Once again, Latin helps me define something.
As everyone moves about in this oppressive heat, I’m standing still and wishing with all my heart that the burnin’ hot sun would move and make this year, this day, this moment go faster.
It’s the longest journey I’ve ever taken. I’m ready to see an end somewhere on the horizon.