Tonight was one of those amazing summer nights that outsiders can't believe exists in Buffalo. Pitch black and filled with fireflies, the trees were still and the air was heavy. It is eighty degrees out. These are the nights when I feel the most like myself.
For awhile tonight, I was at my parents' house. My mom sat out back with me by the pool, what used to be 'my' pool and is now everybody's pool. The trees that used to be small are huge, but everything else is the same. The silhouette of unmoving summer leaves against the night sky is probably my favorite thing in the world, something that brings me complete peace, and I sat staring up as the fireflies blinked around me.
Sometimes I am struck by who I am on my own, without all the associative members of my life. Does that make sense? Without my children, my husband, and all the influences who can make a day turn bad or good or exciting or disappointing. I'm struck, too, by how often I forget that that person, me by myself, even exists anymore. But she does. She's in there all the time, underneath the germophobe, the anxious mommy, the worrying sister/daughter/granddaughter, the teacher, the super-exhausted-but-awesome stay-at-home-mom. Underneath all that, I'm still the same person who loves hot, still summer nights.
As I drove home, a whopping hundred yards or so, I pressed my foot on the accelerator all the way to the floor. The car, a shameless mom-mobile, roared under the pressure and tore forward. I used to drive like that every day, all the time. Every time it was time to accelerate, I put my foot on the floor. Can you imagine that? It was so fun. Now when I drive I have to worry about everything, some crazy loser who drives like I used to, for example, flying up out of nowhere and crashing into my beautiful innocent children in the backseat. I have to worry about all kinds of things. But boy, I miss the feeling of speed under my right foot. A lot.
I wouldn't trade my present life for the old one, not ever. But sometimes it's nice to remember what it's like to drive fast on a hot, still summer night.