Tonight will be my first night off in eight days. I'm looking forward to hanging out on my back porch and getting some reading, and perhaps a little blogging done.
Truth be told, I was glad I was able to work so much; the four extra shifts I picked up made up for the three shifts I missed in order to take a family trip to celebrate my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. As my summer draws to a close, and I get ready to go back for my last year of nursing school (for my RN degree, at least), I reflected on a summer and an odd symmetry of 17 years ago.
I think that in anybody's life, there are dates that stand out forever. One of the big ones in mine is July 4, 1993-- the day I found out I was going to be a father.
I'd had plans for that summer. I'd been working as a substitute teacher full time AND as a waiter; a friend of mine had opened a restaurant, a barbecue place in what was then a fairly rough neighborhood. Despite the diceiness of the neighborhood, the place turned out to be a gold mine, especially after getting a couple of great reviews in a magazine and a newspaper. In between working two full-time jobs, I was keeping up a very busy social life.
The summer of 1993, I'd planned to just work the waitering job, relax and figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I remember the last day of school, in late June, walking out of the school I'd been working at, covering for months for a seventh grade teacher who'd gotten promoted to assistant principal of another school. I remember walking down to the Jewel-Osco store to buy a deck chair I'd seen in an advertisement. I purchased it and brought it home on the Lincoln bus.
A couple of weeks later, when I got that call on July 4th from a woman I'd split up with at the beginning of the summer, I thought my plans were trashed. I had just short of 9 months to think about it all.
In less than 2 years, the child whose arrival upended my plans will be 18. I don't think it's any secret that he was the best thing to ever happen to me. My plans to finish the teaching certification I'd started in 1989 happened. I worked as a teacher, then left to start a new career. If everything goes well, in about 9 months, ironically, I'll become a nurse. Less than a year after that, I'm done dealing with an ex-girlfriend who has made things as difficult as she could, when my son turns 18.
This summer, I could have gone to summer school. I'm glad I didn't. The fellow students who did go felt it was a waste of time. Instead, I got some time to read some books I'd wanted to read for a long time-- reviews to follow-- and to do something I hadn't been able to do in ages. Relax, and prepare mentally for the future that is rushing up on me. The summer of 1993 I'd planned finally happened 17 years later.