And speaking of winter (I’d rather not)

Categorized as 08/31/09 Goshen News column

Here we go. Slow transitioner that I am, I’m not doing so well. All the rest of you seem to be hitting the gas pedal with both feet, ready to roar into fall with reckless abandon. And I say, “What’s your hurry?”

For myself, I’m perpetually one season behind the rest of the pack. That’s about 50 laps, for you NASCAR fans. See, in my world, the kids just got out of school. Beats me why the bus keeps coming by and honking in the morning. Doesn’t he know we’re still on break?

Unfortunately, as much as I’d like to live in this alternate reality, the facts just won’t let me stay there. Even as I write at my picnic table, I see leaves from the walnut tree drifting down to the ground. There’s a bit of a chill in the air, and the Friday night lights are back on at area football fields. I’m afraid it’s true. Fall is coming.

As hard as it is to change with the seasons, can you imagine how I handle the issues of aging and the seasons of life? Let’s just say that there’s a river in Egypt, and I want to go there.

It’s this whole summer-to-fall deal that got me thinking about this. If you go purely by the numbers, we’re in the summer stage. I’d really like to hang out in the spring sector, but it’s hard to keep fooling myself when I see a few hairline cracks in my foundation, so to speak. Not to mention the fact that I have some soft spots, alright, and they’re not just in my heart.

Now, if you, too, resist such change, and you have an inner rebel that loves to buck the status quo, I have a suggestion for you. Try having a baby in the summer of life. That’s what we did.

This will definitely mix things up. For sure, you’re suddenly forced back into spring-like activities when the little bundle of joy arrives. The only problem is, you’re doing spring stuff with summer energy, if you know what I mean, and therein lies the rub.

And speaking of numbers, every once in awhile I let myself crunch ‘em. In three years, Big will be a fresh college grad, entering society as a productive, responsible citizen. That’s the Mom Plan, anyway. The Bigger Middle will be a high school grad heading for college, and the Smaller Middle will be entering the eighth grade. This is when Little goes off to kindergarten and we start the whole process again.

You can see, can’t you, why I always stop right about here and go lie down to take a nap? This straddling-two-seasons thing makes it hard for even my fertile imagination to think past this current whirlwind of activity to that other season – winter.

You mean there will be a season when I won’t need the satellites of Google Earth to track the boys’ activities outdoors while I’m working indoors? This does not compute. I guess the CIA will have an extra one to track real hoodlums if we can get these guys raised and gone. We’ll be helping our country.

Is it possible that the day will come when Mr. Schrock and I can sit around all day in our jammies, watching movies and eating potato chips without threat to our snacks? Maybe winter isn’t so bad after all.

Now my imagination is firing up. For instance, I’m seeing a time when I can shower with no one pounding, shouting, or slipping notes under the door. Whoa. That’s freedom, right there.

We could take off for the weekend without lining up sitters? Sit at Barnes and Nobles until the cows come home and then leave again? Sleep through the night with no feet sneaking up the stairs and no toilets flushing overhead? Let’s get this party started!

There are, however, two things I’m a bit worried about when I think of the winter of life, and those would be fogeyism and senility. See, I just don’t think that you have to be a fogey simply because you keep having birthdays. A fogey, in my dictionary, is a “no fun” person, a grump who’d sooner snap at you with false teeth than to share a smile.

A great example of a non-fogey is my Aunt Bertie. She’s had more birthdays than I have, that’s for sure, but she has as much fun as anyone I know. She’s still scaring people and laughing about it. She’s still interrogating Uncle Paul when he talks in his sleep, drawing him out, and then gleefully reporting their conversation to friends later.

In doing this, she’s killing two birds with one stone. She avoids fogeyism, and she’s doing her part to help Uncle Paul avoid encroaching senility by keeping his brain sharp. After all, research shows that engaging in activities that stimulate the brain can ward off dementia.

Wait. I feel validated now. This means that when I inadvertently tie Mr. Schrock in knots by misplacing something, I’m really looking out for his mental acuity. Now if I could just get him to see it like that.

If Rhonda Schrock is ever found to be displaying fogeyish behavior in the winter of her life, she grants you permission to carve “fun hater” on her cane.

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