On this, the first day of fall, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the summer that wasn’t. It’s not a topic that would have occurred to me on my own. For full disclosure, the prompt was suggested to me along with an offer of a complimentary summer bouquet from ProFlowers, which I accepted graciously because I needed something to cheer me up a bit. I chose the Colorful Gerbera Daisies, because I always prefer colorful to a specific bloom, and my other choice had been sold out at the time. But back to the subject at hand.
The Summer That Wasn’t
Our summer didn’t start out very well. Tom lost his job, at which he’d worked loyally for the last 10 years. We were completely blindsided. Job loss triggers a whole snowball of troubles, not the least of which is loss of income. It also led to loss of health insurance, loss of security, and a lot of emotional upheaval. I’d been very disappointed earlier in the year to have to turn down the opportunity to attend this year’s Family Forward event due to the price increase, but now I was relieved that we wouldn’t have to also figure out how to cover that expense if I hadn’t made the responsible decision. But it left a void in our summer plans, of which Family Forward had been a highlight for the two years previous.
Without a trip to Orlando on the schedule, Tom and I had planned to take TJ to Hershey Park for his birthday instead. It would have been a much shorter trip, a road trip rather than round-trip airfare for three, and we could go for two days and come back without much of a hassle. Except that, in addition to the cost of the trip, we also had to contend with Tom’s uncertain schedule. He was sending out resumes, attending unemployment workshops, and had to be ready to interview or start work at any time. We could not plan an out-of-town trip even if we could have afforded it. We were really disappointed that we couldn’t make it happen, but thankfully, we’d intended it as a surprise, so we didn’t have to break TJ’s heart, too.
The Summer That Was
But it wasn’t all bad. Don’t get me wrong – Tom losing his job was awful – but TJ and I got to spend a lot more time with him. (Six weeks of summer day camp meant that we didn’t all want to kill each other, either!) We did retain our plans to meet up with members of our World of Warcraft guild, Sapere Aude, at Six Flags Great Escape at the end of June. We had a great time. I was completely exhausted, but it was nice to put real faces to virtual names and faces, and our raid leader brought some 3D printed medallions with him all the way from Wisconsin for everyone to have to commemorate the experience.
And while we didn’t get to go away for TJ’s birthday, he had a pretty fun-filled birthday weekend. We had our family party at Dave and Buster’s the Sunday before his birthday. His birthday was that Monday, and Tom and I took him to Sky Zone Trampoline Park for an hour of bouncing time followed by lunch at Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt. Despite previously declaring other birthdays “the best birthday ever” when Family Forward at Universal Orlando was involved, he thanked us for the “best birthday ever” this year, too.
It seems our kids aren’t as caught up in the particulars as we are. As much as he was disappointed when we first told him we weren’t going to Orlando this year, being with us on his birthday was all he really cared about. That, and the fact that we let him choose his fun activity and his birthday meal. And we were able to get him the Y Fliker scooter he wanted, so he played outside on that for hours, too.
So it wasn’t the summer we wanted to have, but it was a summer of family togetherness in which TJ never felt like he was missing out on anything. And since Tom will be starting his new job in a week and a half, things are finally looking up. We finally got new health insurance, too, but that’s another post!
Thanks again to ProFlowers for the beautiful bouquet. I received no financial compensation for this post, but was happy to work with the prompt that they suggested to me, since it gave me an opportunity to look back at my summer in a different light.
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