In general, I enjoy summer aside from the heat, the humidity and the bugs. This summer has been quite enjoyable with moderate temperatures and less of both humidity and bugs.
Despite this, it’s been difficult to enjoy August the past few years. My mother’s birthday is in August. We lost her to cardiac arrest in spring 2010. I remember her saying many times, “Who wants a birthday in August?” My mom would equate August with January in that during both months you’d have to hunker down in the house to avoid the outdoor extremes. She enjoyed her central air, which she insisted on running anytime the mercury hovered around 70 or higher. My dad would complain he would have to wear his jeans and a parka in the car from May through September because mom wouldn’t allow him to turn off the air and open the windows; she refused to wear shorts because she said her legs looked too stubby (mom was 5-foot-half-an-inch tall and she wouldn’t let you forget the half-inch either) and her hair might get mussed. Surprisingly, we all miss her quirky ways even more now that she’s gone.
Last August, I spent six weeks on bed rest due to a sciatic nerve injury. I have a high threshold for pain but it’s pretty debilitating and you feel very helpless and are very reliant on others to feed you, help you retrieve things and take you to doctor and physical therapy appointments. I’m also not a very gracious patient; when you hurt, you hurt. Needless to say, my family was extremely thankful when I could walk and fend for myself again.
This August, I’m healthier than last year and am very happy about that. But two of my co-workers are having their own health issues. One had back surgery and the other’s battling colon cancer. Though both seem to be recuperating nicely and should be back in full force soon, it has put the Newsleader office in somewhat of a tailspin. We tried to plan ahead for both to be out most of August, but were unable to find competent help in a very short time-frame. Luckily, one of our writers offered to help by providing additional stories while our head writer is lying low. And my daughter stepped up to the plate to help with office duties, although she’s made it perfectly clear she will not be entering this profession anytime soon. She starts her generals at St. Cloud State University this fall and is pursuing a degree in musical therapy and community psychology.
On the brighter side, though, August provides numerous activities to enjoy if you are able to get out and about. This weekend alone, a family or individual could take in the Sartell Rock’n Block, Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Festival, the Benton County Fair and/or my and my family’s particular favorite, Take a Day Off On the Mississippi River. Activities for all ages abound at all four events.
After fighting the crowds, I’ll plan to partake in my favorite summertime activity, which is to pour a tall, cold glass of tea and curl up with an awesome book in my rocker on the porch. Here’s to you mom! Happy Birthday!