Yesterday afternoon, I was standing in my backyard, chatting with a friend who had come over with her kids to swim because of the wilting, oh-there-you-are-summer heat and humidity. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a yellow jacket went kamikaze on me and dive bombed into my eye with such force, I stumbled. He stung me, at least once, while I did a frantic little dance and tried to swipe him off my eye socket without getting my hand stung. (But my tongue wasn't hanging out, and there were no giant teddy bears, so at least I didn't look completely ridiculous.)
I immediately ran to get an ice pack, which helped both the pain and the swelling. But because the sting was right below my eye, I've still got some residual puffage. You probably wouldn't notice it if you glanced at me. But I notice it. The right side of my face is swollen and today the bags under my eyes are right up in my eyes. My vision is slightly compromised and my skin stretches taut when I smile and it's all mildly uncomfortable.
It makes it hard to focus on what's right in front of me, because I keep focusing on the distraction.
This is the last week of summer. My kids go back to school next Tuesday, the day after Labor Day. The first day of school is one of those looming dates, you know. It's so big, it can't help but cast a shadow on the final days of vacation. And my brain, blessed be it's geeky neurons, is already in September, sorting out schedules and signing the kids up for fall classes and events.
But this is the last week of summer, the final hurrah of my favorite season. Outside, the sun is shining, and the pool beckons. There are still several lazy, hazy nights worthy of ice cream runs. I have many grill-worthy meals in my fridge: carna asada, Greek chicken kabobs, cedar-planed salmon. We still have to visit the Minnesota State Fair and squeeze in a few more afternoons at the lake.
I don't want back-to-school to puff up into my vision and crowd out what's right in front of me.
It's mildly uncomfortable. My inner planner squirms at this stay-in-the-moment crap when there are to do lists to be written, options to discover, calendars to be aligned. It's hard for me to focus short instead of long.
But I refuse to let the swirling, stinging things distract me from what's before me right now. So if you see me squinting the next few days, it's probably not the bee sting. It's just me, trying to stay here, in the last week of summer, where my kids laughter and the clink of ice make a swollen eye no big deal.