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.