“But then fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.”
― Stephen King
, ‘Salem’s Lot
The summer has come to an end, and it’s back to the classroom for me. While I’ll miss the time I spent with my daughter, and in the flower garden and the extra time I devoted to our animals, I’m looking forward to putting some “forced” structure back into my day. The summer gives me time work on so many projects, especially cleaning up and creative things that I just don’t get the chance to do during the school year, but for a person with ADHD having each summer day to just get things done is completely exhausting.
I don’t set good limits for myself about what projects are possible and get myself involved with too many things. By the end of the night, I’m so tired, I can’t see straight. When I’m working, I have an evening schedule with a routine and a bedtime. And, I justify keeping it so I can feel good the next day. With the summer schedule, I just go and go and tell myself, “Well, I don’t have to work at school tomorrow so I can just finish this up.”
When you have kids, animals, an old farmhouse and consignment shop – the list of things to do never ends. This is a full-time job in itself. A couple times I tried to make lists or write down a schedule, which did help but I still let myself get carried away. Further, I’m guilty of not consistently taking my medication over the summer. Again, with the change of schedule and routine – I’d say, “I’ll do that in a minute.” And, the minute never came. With that, decreased attention caused me to make numerous mistakes and become angry with myself. So, why don’t I just do what I’m supposed to do?
Good question. One I can’t answer. I guess I just become very overwhelmed. To add insult to injury, bees attacked me while I was mowing and the mower got stuck on while I was trying to escape, and the venom caused a severe reaction. While weeding the flowers, I got poison ivy that went inside needing medication to calm it down.
Then, the most terrible, terrible thing happened. My best friend, my cattle dog, Zane and I came up from the barn after chores. That dog’s only goal in life was to be by my side. Lately, a stranger had been waiting for the local bus on my property. Zane wasn’t a natural guard dog, but I hadn’t introduced him to the guy, and he didn’t like him on our property all the time. One day, he’d had enough and went after him. I called, yelled and chased. A truck came around the corner. I then ran for the truck – waving and yelling. I was only a few feet away, but the guy in the truck wouldn’t look at me and hit Zane – hard. Zane ran back to me, confused. Sad, knowing he was in trouble. He ran up to the house and died 5 minutes later. Just like that, my best friend was gone from my life.
The house was so empty. I didn’t have little feet following my every move. I still can’t believe he’s gone or that I couldn’t get his attention to stop. He was such a good boy – so smart and obedient. He was 2 ½ years old. He was my therapy.
I still had other animals to take care of and my Dwarf Nigerian Goat, Albert, was acting funny. When I came down the hill to feed him, he didn’t run out to me like usual. He hid, sometimes with his face in the corner like he was in time-out. He began standing funny with his legs stretched out. I went back to the breeder to ask questions, but he didn’t have any ideas. I called a vet, but apparently the goat world in veterinary medicine isn’t so big. The vet thought maybe he hurt his neck and gave him an anti-inflammatory, but a week later he began to get worse. I called a different vet; she guessed bladder stones. The bladder fills with stones, and the goat is unable to urinate. Eventually, the bladder will explode. We did blood tests and Albert’s kidneys were nearly shut down. We made a decision to put him to sleep. It was over so quickly.
Then came the job of taking care of Albert and deciding where on the property to build a place of rest. My husband found a dry and quiet area. The reality of owning animals is a tough thing. They can get sick or hurt and die. We’ll make a stone for him and plant some perennials. We had my pup, Zane, cremated. Not happy topics, but things we had to work through this summer.
So, going back to the classroom? I’m totally good with it. I look forward to seeing the kids and getting back into the curriculum and schedule.
My ETL guy? Well, did I say it’s been quite a summer? I’ll respect his privacy, but say it’s been a hell of an emotional and difficult summer. The cycles and patterns continue. I pray, meditate and try to take care of myself. The craziness of life can get me off track, but I’m stopping for a few moments to contemplate before moving on to the next season in the year.
I wish everyone a happy fall season, and hope as the busy schedules creep up on you; you can stop and take a few moments for yourself.
“New York is strange in the summer. Life goes on as usual but it’s not, it’s like everyone is just pretending, as if everyone has been cast as the star in a movie about their life, so they’re one step removed from it. And then in September it all gets normal again.”
― Peter Cameron
, Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You