The first of August hit me pretty hard this year.
Every year there’s just a smidge of dread, like the Sunday night gloom that falls before the beginning of a work week. It gives notice of a shortly ending summer, and I scurry to make sure that we’ve enjoyed just enough before the plodding drudgery. Have we eaten enough watermelon, iced enough coffee, adequately gathered freckles on our cheeks?
This summer cut the mustard. I checked off an imaginary list- inspected a pretty solid flip-flop tan, finished a bowl of cherries, and flopped soggy swimsuits over the edge of the bathtub to dry.
Still. That wave of apprehension came on just the same.
It seems this is a year of arbitrary time markers, and August is where it all converges into a boring and mathematical sort of perfect storm, only relevant to over-thinkers and worriers (so, yes, me).
I turn 29 this August, and you’d think I fretted enough about that particular passage of time last year to maybe ease off this go-round. But no, my friends, those 30 under 30 lists still crowd my newsfeed. My husband jokingly points out the few gray hairs beginning to form a nice streak in my overgrown bangs. And more than these things, I have one vivid memory of being around eight years old, considering the age of my then just-thirty parents, and thinking to my small self with surety, “Thirty is when you are old.”
I don’t feel very old. But some things indicate that might be the case. For starters, a second baby is scheduled to arrive at the end of this month. “Scheduled” is a sort of ha-ha-funny word there. In my experience, babies don’t keep day planners and aren’t terrific with punctuality. But still, at a time when “trimesters” and “weeks” and “months” all seem contradictory one to another and hypothetical in this way that I can’t grasp- “four more weeks” is a very hard and fast, tangible reality. Just four Tuesdays from now. Four re-runs of SNL til we have another person. I can look at the page of the calendar where “today” sits up in the left hand corner, and down there toward the bottom of the very same page is “baby.” No page flipping necessary.
Baby is a sort of funny, out-of-place experience right here in August, butted against my 29th birthday, just before fall begins. Because of another small baby in my life (ahem), August no longer means “back to school” and lesson plans and a sweaty day of desks squealing into place in a classroom. I hadn’t expected to be done with teaching years just yet, but those babies and their interesting timing sometimes show up without first conferring. The original plan had been to start trying (or, more accurately, to stop not-trying) after we’d been married five years.
And here we are, coming up on five years married this fall.
Only at this five year marker, instead of just beginning to think about a first child, we’ll be a few weeks into caring for a second. That’s a good deal different than we’d planned. Two whole additional small people different.
It all feels disjointed a bit, laid out together. The expectations I had as a naive kid for “THIRTY.” The plans I made as a naive adult for “FIVE YEARS.” Here I am, watching these important days casually sidle up, and holding my breath with solemn expectation.
But, they’re… just days, after all, no matter how I try to imbue them with meaning or pin them to overwrought blogposts.
Babies happen and careers change and gray hairs begin to grow. Whether these things take place at thirty years old or five years into marriage or on the first of August, it seems none of it is quite as big as it feels in theory.