I am at my childhood home in Pennsylvania for what may be the rest of the summer. My mother broke her hip about a month ago and returned from the rehabilitation center a week ago last Friday. My parents, who live on 30 acres, have 2 horses, a dog and 4 cats, asked me to return home to help them as my mother continues her recovery. What does this mean for me? It means my fledgling plans in Duluth have been put on hold until September: my first summer in Duluth postponed until next summer in Duluth, my craft fair slot forfeited, radio station internship shelved, and Ageless Grace classes un-scheduled. It means I will be living far away from my husband and very attached feline, Haley, for longer than I have every been separated from them before. It means that my summer has been redirected from focusing on myself to focusing on my parents.
I could look at this experience as a burden. I could lament leaving my husband for an extended time and delaying everything I've started in my new home city. Instead, I've chosen to view this redirection as a blessed gift of time: Time to give back to my parents who have done so much for me throughout my life; Time to enjoy sharing their everyday lives without the frenetic excitement and inevitable exhaustion that large family gatherings induce over the holidays; and time to appreciate the gift inherent in shifting my focus from me to those I dearly love for longer than just a phone call.
When I return to Duluth in September, the days will be shorter and colder and darker. I will begin again, in a new season, to explore this rich city as Summer marches into Fall and to build relationships as I find my place in the Northwoods as a teacher and artist. Until then, I look forward to unwrapping this blessed and rich gift of time with my parents as I experience my redirected Summer with great gratitude.