The way I see it, there are 4 seasons to each year: Spring, Summer, Fall and Not Summer. I come from a long, long line of people who don't cotton well to the Not Summer. My dad is probably the worst off when it comes to Not Summer--there were a few years in my 20s when I simply couldn't speak to him between the months of November and March or when I did, I had to make sure to book an appointment with my therapist in advance. Virginia starts telling me I look fat and that my hair's too short or too ratty or too brown starting around December 12th. My sister hibernates like a little animal in Not Summer--when I talk to her on the phone in January, it's like talking to a very grouchy possum. To be fair, though, I'm not much better.
So, today was the Christmas parade in town, and I took Odessa. We stood in the cold for an hour and a half with some friends and watched the exterminator trucks all decorated with lights, and the Baptist church float with the kids dressed up as the nativity scene characters with "Under the Sea" playing in the background, and the 3 different marching bands, and the funeral home float with the one lonely little kid on it sitting in an armchair waving mournfully in front of a cardboard fireplace dancing with orange tissue paper fire, and about 400 cheerleaders. Seriously, so many cheerleaders. And the sky was that dark, dark black that you only see when it's Definitely Not Summer, and the lights were twinkling in the leafless trees and everyone was smiling and waving and saying "Merry Christmas!" including the one creepy guy in the suspenders whose pants were nevertheless in serious danger of falling off, and the cute little kids in the Montessori float were all saying "Happy Hanukah!" and "Happy Kwanzaa!" waving their little handmade mittens, and even the hipsters on the float with the Klezmer band and the guy with the light-up suit were hollering well wishes, and all the Humane Society dogs were grinning and wagging their tails like they hoped you had a pleasant Thanksgiving, and the Clydesdale horses were pulling a wagon down the street jingling their harnesses like in a 1980's Budweiser holiday ad. And a woman on the street stopped me because we were wearing the same coat, and we laughed and told each other how cute it looked on the other, and strangers stopped to admire Odessa and talk about what a little squishy lump of love she is. And we were all very kind to each other, because we knew--we KNEW that we were over compensating for something, that something was missing, that inside us all there was a little thing that was hollow and chill.
And, dear reader, I think we both know what that thing is. Remember: you don't have to say the "W" word. Not Summer is here now, but Summer will come again.