It is laundry day. A chore I tackle in my household about once a week. Usually, by Thursday, I am in need of clean clothing. Besides, I hate going into the weekend with nothing to wear.
As I walked into my laundry room, a space in the basement converted for this purpose. I found the clothing I had hung to dry just a few short days ago. I looked at the garments hanging there and chuckled. Today I am in a lightweight sweater and jeans as I sit outside writing this essay. Apparently, less than a week before I was still in full summer mode. Here were my bathing suits and cover-ups, my sleeveless tops, my short skirts. And, I distinctly remember being too warm wearing these items. I wondered, why is it, at least here in the northeast that summer so quickly jumps to fall? This year, as many in the past, one day it was eighty something degrees, the next the temperature struggled to get out of the sixties. Our nights have quickly grown cold. In fact, frost watches are up for the northern part of my county. What is up with that?
I find the problem with such a dramatic change in temperature is that my closets, drawers and shoe bins are now cluttered with too many items. I’m afraid to put the summer weather gear away, in case it should warm up again. Still, when it is only forty-eight as I get dressed in the morning, I am hard pressed to put on shorts and a pair of sandals. Consequently, I try to squeeze two seasons of clothing into my storage areas.
It seems to me that summer should slowly fade out. So that by the time you realize it is fall you have gradually become accustomed to cooler temperatures. This would give me time to sort through my fall clothing, deciding what to save or give away. I could nicely store my summer wear, knowing I would not need to drag it out again until late spring. Clutter would not be the name of the game, spilling out overstuffed drawers, struggling to find an empty hanger in a closet that has no more space. I realize these are all very trivial problems. However, still thoughts that crossed my mind today as I sit here in the sun, suddenly feeling too warm for the outfit I have on.
The other day it occurred to me, my life had come full circle.
Recently, my husband and I traveled south to visit my sister and her husband at their lake house in North Carolina. Our first day the guys played golf and my sister and I caught up while enjoying the amazing view of mountains and lake. At sunset, we all climbed into their boat and drove to the middle of the lake to admire the beautiful sight. As we all sat their chatting, having a cocktail, relishing our friendship it dawned on me, this was the first time the four of us had been alone together in over twenty-five years. This very event was what we had dreamt about as young twenty something’s with small children. All those years ago we said to ourselves, someday when we are older we will have time to focus on our relationship again. Someday we will take vacations together. Maybe we will even buy houses beside each other and retire. The guys can play golf and the girls can talk without interruption.
How very surreal to be living your dream, to have it come true. To know we had made it through some difficult times, yet, here we were, just as close, still having as much fun as we did when we were all at Purdue University together.
It is a wonderful accomplishment to have shared a lifetime of experiences with my sister and her husband. I know for a fact that not all siblings remain close and that is why I especially treasure the relationship I share with my sister Roxann. We are sisters and more importantly, friends. I know I count her husband as a friend also. My god! I remember helping him decipher his freshman Purdue schedule by writing it out on a paper plate, apparently the only writing surface we could find. How fortunate we are to have each other, to be able to laugh at past silly memories, to understand why certain incidents cause our eyes to go misty. Friendships that stand the wear and tear of so many years go deep into your very soul.
As I sat in that boat enjoying the view of the sunset and my friends, I understood I could not take this moment or the next few days we had for granted. Who knows how many more times we will have the opportunity to share that dream we all had so many years ago. Life can change in an instant; I think most of us, at least those of us in our fifties, understand this. A moment watching the sunset with the couple I have known the longest in my life was rare indeed.