Sunday, September 02, 2012

Labor of Love

I am surprised that I am looking forward to fall. Tonight, when tucking Jack in, he told me how sad he was that summer was over. My response was that it must have been a good summer if he was sad it's over. We talked about what a gift that was- that we could have a good summer, our first summer without Ed. I then told Jack how I used to get the summer blues. Even through my twenties, I would depressed at the end of August. In the last few years, though, those blues have given way to a sweet anticipation for fall. I didn't fully realize until tonight that it's been years since I was sad over summer's end. And, last summer, I distinctly remember feeling filled up by summer--that we lived it as fully as we could have--that I didn't need any more of it.

Maybe it's habit that I'm looking forward to fall; maybe it's that I am just relieved I survived summer-the move, the "vacations" with the kids--who knows. Part of me is also aware of the power of denial and that lurking around the corner is likely a wave of grief so strong I may discover (or re-discover) a fall that isn't so full of the warmth and richness of the changing colors. Or, maybe not. I've learned to wait and see.

I made pulled pork for Ed's family, who came up today to celebrate Labor Day. I needed to find a bbq meal without a grill (I sold that at the yard sale). I spent too much time at work on Friday looking up recipes for pork rubs and coleslaw. But, it was worth it- the pulled pork turned out great. Jack had three helpings- which made it all worth it for me. There was a fair amount of work involved. Hours before Jack and everyone had their first helping, I stood, breaking apart the tender pork butt with two forks, carefully removing a lot of the fat. My lower back was a little sore from standing in the kitchen. I felt like I was standing in Ed's shoes. I was in his kitchen, his domain, his world, giving time to the meal and enjoying it. Jack was playing downstairs with a friend and Reese was taking a nap on my bed. Unlike so many moments that I attempt to do it all and end up completely frustrated and yelling at the kids, I was given the gift of uninterrupted time to finish the meal: Ed's meal. I am unbelievably grateful for that time- - time that will fold over itself in memories- how I will will remember making pulled pork for the first time in our house and how the making of it blends in the years of Ed's holiday meals.

October 8th approaches. It's like a far off storm, or hurricane, that may or may not fully hit us. I am aware of its force, so I imagine I'll be that much thankful for any smooth sailing.