Monday, September 03, 2007

Another Holiday Bites the Dust

For many years it was Labor Day, and not the autumnal equinox, that marked the end of Summer for me. Labor Day was as significant as Christmas, as my birthday, in being a milestone marking time.

I was the sort of child who started grieving for the end of summer on the first day of summer vacation. I counted down those precious months, weeks, days until we had to go back to school. I obviously had not learned how to live in the present moment in those days.

As Labor Day loomed large, I thought about what I would wear on the first day back to school, often making a new dress, which inevitably was too hot in the humid sultry South. I had to buy new shoes, always. And I loved shopping for school supplies. But I did dread going back to school and giving up my freedom to fish for minnows in the stream near my house or read piles of Nancy Drew mysteries or play for hours with my friends outside.

In northern Florida it was always still HOT HOT HOT in early September and the schools were not air-conditioned in those days. So we dripped through the first month of school after Labor Day sent us back.

By the time my children came along, Labor Day still was significant in forming the dividing line between Summer vacation and school. But now I actually breathed a sigh of relief that I could quit looking for interesting things to do with the children or acceptable teen-age babysitters while I trudged off to work. The return to school marked a return to sanity, knowing that they had a rather permanent place to go for the next 9 months. They never saw it quite like that, but from a working mother’s standpoint, Summer vacation is a nightmare.

I was somewhat surprised last night when my friend Kris asked what we were going to do on Labor Day and I realized that Labor Day had not even registered on my radar screen. It seems to have lost its significance as a milestone in the year. The only hint of fall I had today was the weather, which has taken on a sudden cool crispness while throwing out Summer’s mugginess. As I drove to meditation this morning in virtually no traffic, I realized that the rest of the city was honoring Labor Day by sleeping in and staying home.

There is always that question when you are retired as to whether every day is a holiday or whether you simply get no more holidays. It seems that all days look very similar these days. But Labor Day is a thing of the past.


Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Yes, same here, especially as I no longer teach and get the jitters all Labour Day Monday! I know it is here by the heavy traffic through our town going back and forth to cottages and how busy the grocery stores are on the Thurs. and Fri., followed by eerie silence the rest of the weekend. Today, no kids are on the street except for the High School kids filtering down our main street to the pizza places for first lunch period.

12:45 PM  
Blogger GEWELS said...

Barb- Maybe if you saw every day as a "holiday" then you'll find more of that J and F that you feel is missing.

I kind of see it as another day to have a cocktail at noon.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

MOI -- It's cool that you are so much in the middle of your town!

Gewels -- "Another day to have a cocktail at noon" -- who could ask for anything more? And here I thought I didn't need an excuse...

4:55 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Labor Day/Labor Day weekend is so often my birthday so I am pretty sure I'll always mark it, but I can understand the "minor" holidays blending into ordinary days in retirement. It sounds lovely.

8:09 AM  

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