July: Shiny Shield and All

There she goes again. July. That slow-talking Southern girl who blurs my world, swiveling her sweet tea with a stick. I’ve actually come to hate July a little in recent years, but this one, I can tell…she’s going to be good to me. On day one, she is reminding me of the endless universe of summer, the walking in slow motion quality we all knew as kids.

When I was young(er), July was like a safe spot, a private alcove tucked away where no one could find or bother you. And she showed up just in the nick of time, like a female Captain America, with her shiny shield and all. You always knew she’d come to the rescue, and bring her slow, Southern smile and sweet tea breath. Come on home in, July. It’s nice to see you.

As suggested, I am finding space in this summer – absolute, beautiful space. The kind of space that is in between moments, when you find yourself falling into the moment, as if time could swallow you whole. I love this life, for its very sensuous and still moments in time.

How easily we get out of whack; we crinkle up and get rusty like clothes left in a corner or folded chairs left in the rain. It’s hard to come unstuck, hard to flatten out after so many months or possibly years of keeping those positions. The absolute beauty of teaching is that it offers summertime. Even though I am teaching one class, my job feels more like a hobby than it did during the regular school year. It’s lighter fare on what was a meatier menu.

And it’s still that time of the summer when being home each day with Asher is a novelty. We’re getting reacquainted, like old friends, as we learn to keep time to a new rhythm. Our days are lazy and unencumbered by drives to his school and struggles to be out the door.

Here’s to July. That good ole’ gal, waving her flag of surrender and retreat.

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It took me a long while to consider the title for this blog. I wanted something that defined me both as a person and a writer. A name that would also perhaps speak to a particular audience. Why “The Astronaut Wife?” Since my early days of blogging, I have leaned toward more of a confessional style of writing, to some degree. I write as much truth as I can muster at each phase of life. In addition, I also come from a conservative Southern family, and I have grown very far from those roots. You could say I have rocketed to the moon in terms of my upbringing. I have rocketed away from debilitating family dynamics, from worldviews that held me beneath a rock. In my thirties, and now my early to mid-forties, I have learned to live more comfortably with both sides of the moon and write just as much about the raw, dark places as the light ones. Don’t quote me on that, though. It’s quite likely I will lean more heavily toward one or the other depending on which way the wind is blowing. Then, we get to the wife part, and quite frankly, this is where the feminist in me bucked and brayed. Identifying myself as “wife” has felt simply stymieing, particularly since becoming a mother six and a half years ago. But if the truth is going to be told, being a wife to my particular husband has altered my entire shape and has given voice to much of the inner deep. So in fact, becoming a wife was the singular most life-changing moment for me in my journey to the moon and back. Fellow travelers, you can feel safe and comfortable here. What matters more than what you might “get” about me is what you might take for yourself.

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