Summer 2020: A Season To Remember or Forget?

Summertime blues

Abby is a single mom of two teenagers, Will and Grace. Will graduates this year and has plans for college. Grace gets her driver’s license and is ready for the beach and bonfires with friends. Although these rites of passage appear similar to all graduates within memory, the 2020 decade presents extra challenges.

Abby mentally prepares herself for Will’s graduation and eventual departure to the school of his dreams. Today it seems like she gets an email every few weeks with a COVID-19 update. It’s uncertain whether or not her son can reside in a dorm, attend large classes in person or manage other practicalities of living away from home.

Abby wants Grace to have driving privileges and spend time with her friends. Still, she doesn’t know how to navigate the tricky terrain between letting her go and the risk of COVID-19 exposure among her large social circle.

What about Abby’s own summer vacation? Is there any fun in the sun for Abby? Not really. Once a year, she takes a week off from kids and the job to be among girlfriends. The friends choose a new destination each time.

This year they set their sights on San Juan, Puerto Rico and plans are usually underway by the second week of January. Two months later, the group scheduled a Zoom call on March 31st and decided to cancel flights and beachfront lodging due to the pandemic.

Abby’s summer outlook seems bleak and boring. She watches hesitantly as her son dives in and out of stress when an email from college pops into his inbox. Hoping to engage her daughter in fun ways, Abby is running out of ideas. Her daughter Grace offers no trust or patience to her Mom and speaks only to her friends for advice and counsel.

Every day Abby looks out at the gorgeous sun, colorful blooms, and playful birds. She huffs and puffs to herself. Nature is surviving now and I can’t. What can I do to break out of these Summertime blues? Summers have always offered recreational activities, friendly get-togethers, and discovering new adventures. Bottom line: 2020 is turning out to be a terrible thief, robbing Abby and her entire family of their beloved Summer Season.

“Summertime is always the best of what might be.” —Charles Bowden

Can Abby salvage summer?

Upon hearing Abby’s woes, her mom suggests she check in with a wellness coach. Abby thinks this is not a bad idea. She feels stable most of the time, and doesn’t regard a therapist as a threat to her reputation or self-regard.

Abby sets two goals for her first visit:

  1. Determine the significance of the meaning of Summer 2020
  2. Find ways to help her family deal with these unusual circumstances.

Abby sits quietly. She closes her eyes. She projects herself into the future, September 30, 2020. Sitting in a chair in her favorite room, Abby visualizes what she relates to her girlfriends about the summer. She has two lists.

One list contains the activities she chooses to remember. The other list consists of all the things she wishes to forget. Comparing them side-by-side, Abby observes that the remembering list has three times more items than the forgetting list. What’s that about?

Abby’s stomach churns. An imminent headache looms. When she reports her experience and symptoms back to the coach she learns that she is getting a physical message: the lists do not reflect her true summer intention. It’s time for Abby to get serious. Her renovated summer intention: recover from misery and capture the lightness of summer.SUMMER QUOTES

Abby’s revises her summer intentions.

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.

Once she comes to grips with her losses and struggles with the kids and no vacation, Abby outlines a few ideas that focus on local fun:

Set an alarm once a week to catch a sunrise.

Regardless of where she is or with whom, sunrises possess a magical call to action: begin the day with Peace, Love, and Joy.

Stroll through a new park every weekend.

Abby and her kids pick a new park to visit within a few hours of home. The prepare for their adventure by looking on the internet for trails and one place to check out in the local area.

Create quality family time.

Abby and the kids write down on separate slips of paper that they can do together at home. The papers are dropped into a bowl. Every Wednesday after dinner each of them reaches into the bowl – they have to commit to a shared activity without whining or judging.

Try something new.

Abby likes to experiment with a variety of exercise routines. Although she usually reserves new routines for Fall, she decides to move up the timeline and do something different. She searches online for suggestions and smiles when she sees a video of a group of people hula hooping.

As a girl Abby spent hours whirling and twirling with her hoop. Is it time to bring back an old favorite? Yes! Abby orders a hula hoop watches how-to videos and laughs her way through practices.

Take a social media tech break.

Abby doesn’t like to watch friends or family take unnecessary risks at social gatherings. While she understands the need for meaningful contact, she becomes uncomfortable watching others mingle without masks or blatant disregard for social distancing. Abby limits her screen time on apps that make her feel worse in any way. She prefers reading and tending to her flowers.

Through these simple yet important changes, Abby feels stronger and more alive. She chooses to embrace summer 2020. The spirit of summer is not lost upon her heart.

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