Monday, July 8, 2013


July is probably my favorite month.

By July, it's definitely summer - even in Minnesota. And believe you me, summer can take a LONG time to get to Minnesota. We had an unseasonably warm day in March, and a snowstorm in early May. Seasons be crazy, is what I'm saying. Anyway, it's definitely summer, which means skirts and flip flops and sunshine and green things. I love all of those things.

Then we have July 4th. Annual picnic with bocce ball tournament (complete with trophy!), deviled eggs (I think I've finally mastered these - taste, texture AND easy-to-peel eggs), grilling, sunscreen, fancy desserts, cousin time. New this year, we also had a baby in attendance! And of course, fireworks. (Incidentally, I love fireworks, but I've been working so much lately that this year, what I really wanted was a relaxing night at home. We opted for some Doctor Who in lieu of fireworks. Still got the infinite joy of hearing them go off right outside our windows, though. Thank goodness.)

THEN we have my birthday. Now, birthdays in my family tend to last a long time. You have your friend dinners, your grandma dinners, your immediate-family gathering, maybe a different friend dinner, another family event, and, for me, CABIN (which we'll get to momentarily). So not only do we have my birthDAY, we have my birthWEEK and sometimes seemingly my birthMONTH! Of course I love July! It helps that I love birthdays. Turning another year older has never bothered me. Life moves forward, and so do I; I welcome each new year and the (mis)adventures it brings. I also love that there's this one day where people get celebrated just for existing. There's no national holiday, no religious significance, just..."hey, you were born, and I think that's pretty neat, so let's celebrate." It's wonderful. Also, cake.

And then, of course, July = CABIN. Cabin started as a birthday retreat, but over the years, it has morphed into something so quintessentially SUMMER that I no longer even try to claim it as my own weekend (mostly). My whole summer revolves around CABIN as this central focus, this gravity well that everything else is heading toward or reluctantly leaving. Every year, it seems I take off more and more time and start the weekend earlier. Cabin is amazing. It's booze, fires, cheese balls, sunshine. It's floating on a lake without a care in the world. It's laughter and friends that are family, magical kayak journeys and day-long trips to urgent care. Cabin is something Other, something Magical and Wonderful. July is my favorite because Cabin is the best.

As if all of that weren't enough, I have one more reason to love July, and his name is Aron. Right around two years ago, an old friend started becoming something more. He came to cabin for the first time, where we burned the wedding-planning books that his ex had lent to me. We must have released a whole lot of bad juju, because something changed that weekend, and that something has grown and blossomed and become something amazing. I love July because it's first dates and first kisses and uncontrollable smiling. It's getting to know someone better, deeper. It's an unstoppable comedic force.

There is a day in July that is not so good. There is a day that ripped my world apart, threw me to the ground, and destroyed the life I was building. Five years ago, July was the worst month I could have imagined. The wedding I had planned no longer existed. The road to Arizona became a dead end. My dreams, my future, my hopes all became a fleeting dream, leaving me trapped in a living nightmare. It would probably be excusable if I hated July, hated my birthday, wanted no part of any of it.

But the funny thing is, time goes on, whether you want it to or not. I lived my pain, I grieved. And then I realized that life was still going on around me. I dipped a toe in the water. I took a tentative bite. And eventually, without even realizing the scope of it, I was happy again. I was ME again.

And me? I love July.