It’s been a bittersweet summer for me this year – full of family time and gatherings with friends, yet also dotted with long, listless days and nights of little sleep. Penelope hit a major milestone at the end of May. She transitioned, suddenly and spectacularly, out of co-sleeping and into her own bed. Dan and I were proud, relieved, and thrilled to find ourselves with kid-free time in the evenings.
Well, since no one really talks or writes about co-sleeping I wouldn’t have known, but her departure from my sleep routine completely disrupted my hormones. For 8 hours a night, she had been tucked in beside me and then.. she wasn’t. I slid into something quite like post-partum depression for much of June and July. And here I thought I had just “gotten lucky” in avoiding any blues after birth or weaning. Combined with recent losses and other struggles, things got hard.
Truthfully, things are still hard. Feeling bright and hopeful after a week in Michigan, coming home has felt mostly positive. Standing in the kitchen this morning, rinsing the berries we picked and sprinkling them into my favorite summer dessert, I began to think about my Auntie Andrea, who shared this recipe with me.
Summer is full of nostalgia. Smells of sun-warmed thistles near the bike trail. Relentlessly blue skies beckon me outside to run in the grass in my bare feet, make a wish on a dandelion, dive into deep, cool water. But the sweetest memories hold visions of those no longer here. And my energy can’t parallel the buzz of the season and its many opportunities to go-go-go.
As July draws to a close, I’m fighting for the bitter and the sweet. Licking the pudding off the spoon, I think of my family – gathered and fully intact just a few years ago for my Grandpa’s 89th birthday. I fight the urge to wish for the cool dusks of autumn and the restfulness promised by winter. I fight off nostalgia in this present moment, watching my daughter line up blueberries on her placemat and knowing she’ll continue to become her own person with every passing season. All the time we are asked to embrace new loss, new sweetness in this life. Sometimes I hold on too tightly to both.