I have never fully adjusted to living in Texas, which is to say that I still get excited at the prospect of summer vacation. My inner Midwesterner believes that summer is the happiest of times, and so I am disappointed annually when we reach June and I remember that summer here is something to be endured.
People can be found in only two locations: the pool or their air-conditioned homes. And I even consider the pool off-limits in the afternoon because 100 degrees is so hot. The pool deck scorches tender little feet, and the kids quickly become fatigued. We spend most of our time at home, hiding from the heat. Sometimes we go so long without seeing other people that I start to feel as though I’m in some sci-fi movie where we’re the only humans left.
I’ve always liked our neighborhood because we have so many children nearby, but with kids getting older, everyone seems to travel more. Eleanor is also reaching that age where girls mainly want to play with girls and boys with boys, which narrows the pool of playmates.
Greg and I have started talking about renting a house someplace next summer for a month or so. He’s allowed to work from home, and I can work anywhere. If we’re all going to be lonely, it seems far better to be lonely in a place with better weather where we could share some new adventures. I’m even excited at the prospect of a road trip. This might be proof that the sun is frying the frontal lobe of my brain.
We’ve spent every July at home since Genevieve died. I’ve insisted on it because I can’t see the point of trying to take a vacation at a time when I know I will be emotional. But I’ve started to wonder whether the isolation of a Texas summer makes my grief significantly worse. I know that grief will always be there; my nerves start to fray every Fourth of July. How would I feel watching waves crash onto the beach or hiking through the Rockies? Certainly, fresh air couldn’t make things worse, right?
Seven days until her birthday. Eleanor is super excited this year (because of the cake, I assume), and I don’t know how to tell her not to be.