Tuesday, August 10, 2010

That Celebrated Summer

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.


LegalMist said...

Talk about delayed gratification! You truly are the master....

mags said...

Wow - very nice!