Why I’m So Hot

I can feel his eyes on me as I dress and move towards the door.

“I thought for sure you’d do it today,” he says through sleepy whispers.

My gaze drops to the floor and I sigh, “Not today; maybe next week. I’m just not ready.”

He mumbles something and rolls over, not wanting to press the issue. How can I explain this to him in a way that he’ll understand?

I can tell by his reaction he thinks I’m a certifiable basket-case; a nut; a kook.

But he’s called me on it, and he’s right.

I’ve developed a phobia of sorts.

I just can’t bring myself to wear shorts this summer.

And today? We hit the 100-degree plus mark.

They taunt me from the drawer with their short legs and breezy leg openings. In their neatly organized piles sorted by color and fabric, they promise summer fun and cuteness.

One pair even has pleats that I carefully ironed last fall before putting them away for the last time.

But was it the last time for the season, or the last time at all?

I’ve always been a shorts-in-the-summer kind of gal, always made sure that I had all the basics covered: a white pair, a dressier pair, denim, khaki, and maybe a crazy plaid pair. Funky cut-offs for the beach; snazzy linen for brunch.

But plans like that were made with legs that I haven’t seen in a few years.

Not the legs I’m hobbling around on these days.

Lately I’ve become rather fond of knee-length short-type things (Bermudas?), skirts that end at the knee, and capri pants. All of those styles that cover that back part of the leg. You know, the longest part.

My ankles are rather nice, thank you very much.

As I get closer to that looming 50th birthday in a few years, I find that even though I’m comfortable with myself, I’m not so comfortable subjecting other people to the horrors that age is bestowing on me.

While my legs have always been pale, now that paleness is accentuated with purplish veins like the doodles of a distracted middle school girl.

In purple Sharpie pen.

Knees are never really sexy, but mine are now encased in baggy skin. Where exactly did the fat under there go?

It quite possibly migrated north and stopped for a layover on the shores of my belly button.

That explains a lot.

And don’t even start on the exercise thing. I suppose that exercise alone would transform my legs, make them shorts-worthy in no time. Or possibly make the veins even veiny-er.

If I were willing to commit to it.

I even went shopping, determined to find the pair of shorts that I could actually wear with confidence this summer.

If I thought my legs looked horrid at home, they looked like abstract art under the tragic fun-house lights in the dressing room at Kohl’s.

Do they do that on purpose? Is there a hidden camera show I’m not aware of that taunts middle-aged women with cute clothes, then lures them into a room with hideous lighting and crazy mirrors?

If there is, I was a contestant.

This battle isn’t over, but for now?

Shorts:   1
Sherri:   0

Free Bird

Both of my kids went back to school last Monday. My job at the school doesn’t start for a few weeks yet, so I have some free time on my hands. There is still the school drop-off/pick-up for my 12-year old and everyone still expects to eat dinner for some reason. But other than that, free time.

Since my kids aren’t little anymore, I do actually get some time alone during the summer. I’m just usually the taxi driver/short-order cook/driving instructor/problem solver/nagger/cruise director and feel like I’m “on duty” 24/7 when they aren’t in school.

During the school year, I know where they are from 8am -2:30pm. It’s kind of like they’re in jail, with no possibility of parole until 2:30 or a vomiting episode, whichever comes first.

As our summer starts to wane, there is always much anticipation of my upcoming free time; so many possibilities. Mani-pedi?? Massage? Meet friends for coffee/lunch/walking/shopping? Lie around the house and do nothing? Write my novel/exercise/knit/crochet/start a money-laundering scheme/walk the dog/scrapbook?

Let’s just say I’m not crafty, so several of those ideas do.not.apply.

But the possibilities are endless.

Monday morning came and the kids went off to suffer through enjoy their first day of their new school year.

I hit the ground running….I was on fire! Drop off daughter, make menu list for the week, shop for groceries at two stores, unload groceries, play with the dog, blog, tidy up family room, make some lunch.

It was only 11am. And then I was stumped.

My problem is that I don’t know how to relax. Deciding what to do is not easy for me, especially when there are so many options.

When I’m stumped on what to do, my mommy-auto-pilot takes over and I start randomly throwing in loads of laundry or tidying something up. Which is never really done, so it’s always an option when bored.

But it’s boring.

As the week moved on, I found something to do for myself each day. I went jogging, trying to find the legs I once had; learned to Tweet thanks to encouragement from my blog buddy Liz; finally linked up to Mama Kat’s writing workshop; I chatted with a far-away friend.

By Friday, I was bored.

And out of the blue, boss-lady called to see if there was ANY chance I could work just a few hours before I’m hired back for good? Just set up the classroom, start getting referrals for at-risk kids from the teachers. She says there are SO many kids that need me this year.

My first thought? Crap. My summer is over.

But after I hung up, I had a different thought. Maybe I finally found what I was looking for all week long.

I think I just need to be needed. Just a bit.

Summertime Then and Now

Today I am linking up to Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop over at Mama’s Losin’ It!. I am dedicating this post to my bloggy friend Cori, who is pretty sure I will never link up.

Mama's Losin' It

Prompt #5)  What five images paint a perfect picture of summer to you? Put those five images together in a piece of writing.

Summertime used to mean bicycle rides to the park, leaving early to beat the heat.

  • Now it’s teaching him to drive while I grip the door handle and try to control my breathing. I just might take up smoking.

Summer used to mean candy-colored popsicles, dripping down his chin and onto a dinosaur t-shirt.

  • Now it’s a 64 ounce Dr. Pepper from the Mini Mart and a Disturbed t-shirt.

He used to be up with the sun in the summertime, ready to start his day with a smile on his face and an Eggo waffle.

  • This summer, getting up “early” means before 10am; he’s lethargic, and wants coffee. And an Eggo.

Summer used to mean freedom from homework and teachers!

  • This summer, he had homework for 3 classes that was VERY time consuming. Reading Crime and Punishment would have been punishment enough without finding 25 relevant quotes and writing about each one.

Summer used to mean endless free time with him, doing puzzles, going to the library, the water park, and getting together with friends.

  • This summer, some of our best free time was spent on a road trip to check out colleges. For next year. When after our summer is over, he will leave.

I have learned to take each summer as it is, to savor the time with my kids and the break in routine. There are no more chubby legs in swim diapers, no more swim lessons at the local pool in the searing heat. The Free Family Movie morning at the local cinema is no longer fun, the park is for babies, and the library reading program is something you volunteer to help with, not participate in.

I watch the mommies pushing their strollers and wiping noses and I miss those days. Some days, more than others.

I absolutely love the people my kids are turning into. People that somehow, through all of my nagging and sometimes feeble attempts at parenting, I have helped shape them into.

But for all of the noses I wiped, all the sunscreen I applied, the hours I spent pushing the stroller, and all of the popsicle stains I vanquished I earned a valuable prize.

The title of Mom.