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A Summer of Regrets
My friends always joke that if you look up the word ‘loquacious’ in the dictionary, my name would be included in the definition. According to them, and to me most of the time, I never run out of things to say. However, when summer comes I am very different. That talkative personality retreats to a place deep inside me, where it hides until school starts in the fall. The truth is that I am so busy and excited during the school year that when summer arrives, I tend to drift back a few steps and relax. I read continuously, listen to my i-pod for hours at a time, and have some alone time with myself. It’s as if my whole life is a painting, with vivid colors and bamboozling patterns, and I am standing in the middle enjoying it all. In the summer, it’s as if I decide to step out of the painting and watch it, rather than be part of it for once. I imagine time pausing. However, this specific form of relaxation can have its drawbacks, because not everyone interpreted my behavior the way I did.
“Honey, why don’t you come swimming with us? We can bring snacks and everything!” Mom stated enthusiastically, with an encouraging smile stretched across her face. A twinkle came into her eyes, the kind that was always exhibited when she was attempting to be persuasive. However, the twinkle dimmed when I replied.
“No thanks,” I declined, and replaced my i-pod ear buds back into my ears. My mother looked kind of depressed, and her face seemed to fall with my words. She stood there quietly for another moment, and seemed as if she was contemplating whether to argue my opinion or not. However, after another second of indecision, she silently trudged out of the room.
Later in the week, my mother suggested that we go play miniature golf as a family. “Sweetheart, would you be interested in, perhaps, going mini golfing later today? The weather is so unbelievably pleasant, and we haven’t been in a while,” she offered to me, with a hopeful look on her face. She really enjoyed the entire concept of ‘family fun time’, and she tried to enforce it as much as possible in the summer. My brothers, though they were not particularly fond of the idea, consented to most of the activities she conjured up. However, this form of summer pastime wasn’t what I was interested in. I wanted to relax by the pool, soothe my mind with a good book, lather on sun tan lotion, and soak up some vitamin D. Besides, my brothers were not exactly my favorite people because their lack of maturity and requirement of constant attention was enough to make me recoil and run the other direction. Consequently, I again declined the offer.
“Thanks a lot Mom, but I really am not in the mood for that right now. Maybe another day,” I said. Mom gave me a small, rather tentative smile, and walked off to attempt recruiting my father for her plan.
This routine continued for a few weeks, and the optimistic attitude of my mother slightly decreased with each decline from me. At the time, I wasn’t as compassionate or observant of her feelings as I should have been. I realized this when she came up to me one day and said a few words that have stuck with me. They are like a cloud shadowing me, no matter how bright it may be.
“Sweetie pie,” she began, her eyes almost glistening. Was she crying? Why? “I know you are growing up. It seems as if it were just yesterday you wouldn’t leave my side. You stuck to me like glue, but I treasured it,” she explained.
“I’ve tried to slow down the growth of the gap between you and this family. No mother looks forward to it happening, and some are lucky enough not to have it happen at all. I tried to hold onto you, and you just seemed like you were slipping away,” she sobbed. She gazed at me for a few moments, a hint of melancholy touching her features. Mom took a deep breath, composed her expressions, and began again.
“I just want you to know that I love you, no matter what, and I always will. I wish you’d cherish your family more often, but if you choose not to it’s okay. We still love you,” she stated. I smiled at her and patted her hand affectionately.
“You know I love you, Mom. I just really needed some time alone,” I explained. She just nodded.
The next time she invited me to participate in playing a game, I agreed. It was actually quite fun, and we all laughed and pulled together over a game of Monopoly, which I did lose. The best part was that everyone was so thankful and excited to have me there, especially my mother. I was like the missing piece to the puzzle. The smile did not leave her face all night, and her eyes glowed with happiness. She turned to me and mouthed the words, “Thank you”.
I wish I had realized much sooner that family time is a valuable concept. I’d caused my mother discomfort and made my family feel rejected. I had never intended that, it just happened. However, I do believe that my unobservant and slightly insensitive mood caused it. Sometimes, another person’s happiness is more valuable than your own. In a case like this, making another person happy contributes to your happiness.