For as long as I can remember, summer has been my favorite time of year.
Maybe this is because I was a summer baby – born in July. I love the warm weather and absolutely hate the cold. From the beach club growing up on Long Island, to camp, to spending days on the beach and nights at Paddy McGees in my 20’s (I know some of you know what I’m talking about). Then there was Fire Island and Hampton share-houses. Summer has always been associated with fun and relaxation in my mind. It was my happy time.
Howie felt the same way I did and we loved our summers. Before the girls were born and after, we took weekend getaways or just went to the beach often and loved to eat dinner outdoors. I always felt a sadness around Labor Day.
I never thought anything would change that. It’s just the way I was until Howie’s death changed my feeling about summer.
My last few summers just haven’t been the same. The summer partner I had for 20 years was no longer here to enjoy it with me. I didn’t sit at home and cry all day – I still had beach days and dinners and weekends away with girlfriends which were always fun. But the leisurely, fun, spontaneous, joyful feel wasn’t there like it was in past summers for me.
There were so many summer things that felt a little emptier. First of course, my summer birthday. My friends and family always made sure to be around and take me out and make me feel special. This was great but it just isn’t the same as celebrating with a special person in your life, either with a bunch of friends or just the two of you. Something was always missing.
The other thing that stands out in my mind is Lily’s camp visiting day. The day when all the parents go up to visit their child(ren) who are at sleep away camp for seven weeks.
I never loved that day even when Howie was alive. Most parents of sleep away kids will say it is their favorite day of the year blah blah. I am just being honest – OF COURSE I love to see her. I miss her terribly when she is gone but…
Visiting Day is a 3 1/2 hour drives to park a mile away and schlep a ton of stuff up a hill. I am thrilled to see her for an hour or so. I love to see how happy she is and hear about her summer. But being there from 10 AM to 4 PM is way too long to sit outside and walk around in 90 degree weather. Especially when you have a child that is not athletic like Lily. There isn’t much to do. Honestly as she’s gotten older I think she is happy when the day is over and she gets on with her summer.
Now, since Howie is no longer here, I actually dread it (I am clarifying – I don’t dread seeing Lily – I dread the day). Because now Amanda and I drive up (at the crack of dawn) and back by ourselves, and then carry stuff that weighs more than we do up the hill. Every time we get up there I am shocked that we made it without an injury! And then of course everyone around us looks like big happy families having the time of their lives.
It’s just another time that reminds me that something and someone is missing.
And let’s face it – Lily is a fifteen year old girl in her favorite place with people that she loves. She doesn’t really need me there. It’s just a tough day.
There are a lot more summer things that just haven’t been the same. Spontaneous outdoor dinners, get togethers with friends etc. The past few years I have actually been looking forward to Labor Day. This issomething I never thought I’d say.
I wanted the regular routine of the year to start again – it felt safer somehow.
This summer was the first time in a long time that I almost felt like my old self, which shocked me but also made me happy.
This July I turned 50 and it was something I thought I would be miserable about, but I wasn’t at all. It almost felt like a time that I can start a new chapter.
It’s not moving on, it’s moving forward. I took two mini vacations with two separate groups of girlfriends and I truly just relaxed and had fun. I have been spending time with someone special in my life, including my birthday, and that makes me happy. Plus – guess what – Lily was away from camp on visiting day so I didn’t have to go!!! :). And as I write this, I happen to be away in Aruba with my family and I am really having a great time.
It is a great feeling to know that my love for summer hasn’t disappeared.
Although it’s never going to be the same, I had a really good summer and I am actually kinda dreading Labor Day for the first time in a long time.
Stacy was a stay-at-home mom/part-time preschool teacher whose life was turned upside down in 2011 when her husband passed away suddenly of a heart attack. She is raising her two fabulous daughters, now ages 18 and 20, who are turning into wonderful young women. In 2016, she started a blog about her experience as a young widow, The Widow Wears Pink. This led her to write for other publications including Huffington Post, Today.com, Scary Mommy, Grown & Flown, Kveller, Modern Loss, Thought Catalog, and many more. In 2018 she started Living the Second Act with fellow writer Mimi Golub. Today, Stacy and her daughters are happily living their “new normal” while always keeping her husband’s spirit alive.