Last year, February was the coldest month in the brief North Texas winter, a month in which nearly two feet of snow shut down everything for durn near a solid week.
This year? February may as well be March — FebruMarchy — as crazy as the warming has been: lows in the 50’s, highs in the 70’s. Oh yes, the trees have already started waking up, sprouting baby leaves and even blossoms. And the moths and crane flies (“skeeter hawks” as I’ve learned to call them) have returned, making my lighted front porch a gauntlet of bombarding, flying creatures as I try to enter the doorway.
In other words, this year North Texas went from the chill of late autumn straight into early spring, with only a hiccup of a week or two that I could sort of call “winter” sometime in late January.
It’s always funny how the spring semester starts when it’s still technically winter (mid-January) and only is “spring” when the semester is halfway over. Consequently, spring weather arriving so early had head-faked me into thinking I have less time than I actually had.
But then I looked at my calendar this week and exclaimed, “Spring Break is only a week and a half away? EGADS.”
I know I sound like an old fart when I say this: time really DOES seem to go faster the older I get. For instance, my son will be exactly 4.5 years old a month from now, and I’m still startled by the fact that he’s not a toddler and hasn’t been for a long while. He’s only a hop, skip, and a jump away from elementary school; where the heck did the time GO?
Then this past week, my family had a medical scare that — fortunately — resolved into my dad having gall bladder removal surgery as opposed to a liver cancer diagnosis. (WHEW.) But as I visited him in the hospital last week, I was struck with the realization that my dad was 69; he will be 70 almost exactly to the day next year, and I’m startled by the fact that he’s not the active, 40-something husband and father of my teenager memory, running the family household.
Then I remember that I’M the 40-something who’s running her own family household now. (I’ll be 40 in a couple of months.)
This spring has sprung a lot of thoughts in me.
Being sandwiched between two generations (my son and my father).
Being thrust into leadership positions (chairing committees) that have challenged my “leave me alone to write” sensibilities. I hate committees because when committees go bad, I get flashbacks of the horrors of high school drama and pettiness, which I avoided by hiding in the library. I can’t do that when I’m the committee chair. OH JOY.
Being active in my fiction writing, active enough to look for agents (the first ones have soundly and correctly rejected me), to seek beta readers for feedback, and to plan to attend my very first writer’s conference (as opposed to academic conferences, which I’ve attended more than a few). The conference will be at the end of the spring semester (in mid-May), a date that — what with time swooshing by like a thousand mosquito hawks — literally is closer with every passing day.
Teach my classes, grade those papers, serve on those committees, coordinate student literary activities, finish my novel (currently sitting at 55K words), AND help with the transition of my boy child from the halcyon early preschool phase to the challenges of kindergarten prep when he won’t even wipe his own post-potty butt?
I know that I will survive this spring semester, as I’ve done so with past spring semesters. The one good thing about the spring arriving so quickly is that it will leave just as quickly, and so any troubles and stresses that I feel at the present time will go away, just as surely as the Texas summer sun will kill off those mosquito hawks and bake the ground dry.
Hallelujah to that, and pass the round of tequila shots.