August used to be the month that you didn't want to plan any trips because it was Seattle's most beautiful month of the year. It was warm breezes, long sunny days, the brightest blue sky that went on forever.
There was no place in the world more beautiful than the northwest in late summer. It was the time of year that you inhale as much of it as you can, you try to soak it in, to sustain you and keep you warm on the long winter days.
But the last few years it hasn't been that way - hazy, smokey, too hot. (But global warming isn't real, I thought?)
It's bumming me out. I don't want to be outside in August when the sky isn't blue. I want to be someplace else. I want to be someplace with a blue sky.
For the first time in forever I find myself longing for fall weather. But then I feel guilty for wishing the summer away. I know I'll regret that wish when I'm freezing to death and soaked to the bone in January. I catch myself whispering a little wish for a fresh rain to clear the air, but I will regret that wish too in a few months time, when it seems like the rain will never end.
I've always loved our summers, I look back on our memories and we've had the best summers. I look at the pictures of us at the beach and pool and playgrounds, in the mountains with glorious blue skies behind us.
But with this weather and air quality keeping us inside, we are (or I am) feeling stir crazy. We can't spend the time at the pool that I was planning for these last days of summer break. Hanging at the beach and the park just aren't as fun in the brown haze. And all of the fun indoor stuff doesn't feel right in summer, plus it's all expensive as hell.
So for the first time I find myself feeling ready for the kids to go back to school. I find myself thinking that it summer is going to be like this then it might as well just be over. I have to hush that thought too though. I know I will hate myself for it very soon. I don't want to wish the time away.
There's also the uncertainty. I'm a planner. I like to have a plan. I like to look at the calendar and plan out which days next week we're going to the pool and the beach, which days we might go berry picking, or find a new playground to explore. But with the air quality so uncertain, I can't do that. I can't guarantee that we will be able to be outside. And so I also find myself longing just a little for the predictability of the school schedule. At least I know what days are school days.
I don’t want to wish the school year stress to start back up. School is hard for us (me?) It’s a daily challenge and mystery as to whether my autistic child is going to go to school. It’s non-stop planning and strategizing and coming up with solutions to try to keep him feeling ok and not so overwhelmed that he can't go. It's worry about whether my ADHD child is going to manage ok in class. It's IEP meetings and accommodations and appointments and therapy. I’m not ready for that to start back up yet (or ever).
I'll pull myself out of the pity party.
It's not that we've had a bad summer. It just hasn't been what I had expected or planned for My kids have had TONS of unstructured indoor play time at home, and that's good for them. They say that boredom is good for kids, it forces them to get creative and use their imaginations, and they have certainly been doing that. My girls have made imaginary worlds with their legos and have played for hours and hours. They've loved it. I'm a firm believer in giving kids a lot of unscheduled time, I think that most kids these days are way too over-scheduled and I work very hard to fight that. So we're achieving that goal. We're very under planned and under scheduled.
The kids aren't the ones with the problem here. It's just me. Maybe boredom isn't as good for the momma.
There's always a lesson to be learned, something to try different next time. I guess my lesson for next year is to come up with a different plan for August. My staycation plan of of beaches and pools and parks under blue Seattle skies maybe needs to change. Maybe August needs to be the month that we go someplace else, and maybe we focus on staying here in June & July before the August haze sets in.
So, hey, that gives me something to start researching and planning, and anyone who knows me knows that I love a good planning session!