Summer has always been my favorite time of year. It used to be, long ago, because I was out of school. Unlike many, I didn't have extra summer activities--no camp, no vacation, no summer job until I was in my teens. But I did enjoy the open-ended time that I had to read the night through, or... read. I wasn't especially sociable as a kid, though I had a few friends. By this, I mean till I was about 14. In high school, things became more dramatic if not more exciting.
Now, I love the long days, and the plentiful fresh food, and the warmth. I don't mind the heat and humidity till the index exceeds 90, and for the most part I enjoy the occasional thunderstorm. I love summer festivals, and fireworks (in big displays, that is), and camping bonfires. I love the increasing likelihood of travel during this time of year, road trips or otherwise. I love having my husband on a reduced work schedule so we have a little more time to hang out. I love having fewer obligations, it seems, at least fewer pressing ones.
Somehow, besides all the attributes of summer I enjoy, summer also became the year-marker for me, and so it has remained for thirty years or more. I can recall what happened in a given year because of the summer's events, in other words, even if I can't recall a particular holiday or a birthday.
Four years ago, it was the summer of our wedding and my new job. Three years ago, it was the summer of chemo. Two years ago, it was the summer of hard-won remission. One year ago, it was the summer of adjusting to "post-cancer" (when I'd never of course wanted to be in the cancer stage to begin with.)
I'm not yet sure what this summer will become. The summer of NN14, for sure, given how much I've devoted to the event already. The summer of parental change, since now my youngest child has finished high school. (And with that milestone, I end thirty-two years of active parenting for a child in school. Whew!)
I hope it will be a summer of renewal. The summer of our new house. The summer of (slightly) restored energy for me. Maybe even the summer of new adventures, like training for a half-marathon.
But one thing is for sure: I am more grateful than I can say to feel that I have open-ended time with which to plan, to look forward to next summer with a degree of confidence that I will see it.
How about you? Does summer, or any other season, have a greater significance for you? Has your attitude toward summer changed post-cancer--are there after-effects that are better, or worse, in the hot weather? The floor is yours. And, of course, this is also an open thread.
Monday Night Cancer Club is a Daily Kos group focused on dealing with cancer, primarily for cancer survivors and caregivers, though clinicians, researchers, and others with a special interest are also welcome. Volunteer diarists post Monday evenings between 7:30-8:30 PM ET on topics related to living with cancer, which is very broadly defined to include physical, spiritual, emotional and cognitive aspects. Mindful of the controversies endemic to cancer prevention and treatment, we ask that both diarists and commenters keep an open mind regarding strategies for surviving cancer, whether based in traditional, Eastern, Western, allopathic or other medical practices. This is a club no one wants to join, in truth, and compassion will help us make it through the challenge together.