It seems Labor Day is sort-of a side-note holiday around here. Just one of those official days off in the summer …which one is it?…the one at the beginning or the end?…oh yeah, the end, that’s right. We don’t even factor it in. And then all of a sudden, it’s here, and it’s a bonus. Kind of like when you think it’s a Tuesday, but then realize to your great delight, no, it’s Thursday, which means tomorrow is Friday. Hooray.
Those are good days.
And that’s how Labor Day usually is for me. A long weekend of telethons, tennis tournaments, and if we’re lucky and stumble upon it, a bit of fun.
But I never really plan for it. And then this year, I missed it. Because this Labor Day, I had to work. Not exceptionally long or hard. And only at my kitchen table on a law firm’s diversity brochure and an architectural firm’s environmental design article. But still. The fact that our family didn’t get to go out and play Labor Day afternoon, well, that was my fault.
So in the spirit of not properly caring about something until it’s gone, this Monday, I reminisced about Labor Days past.
On Labor Day 2005, HcQ went to Montana for a very fun friend’s wedding. And I went to the beach up the street with my parents, for I was oh-so-very with child.
The year before that, I don’t remember. The one before that, um, we were somewhere. Or something. And the ones before that, well, I have no idea.
In fact, I don’t really remember any Labor Days past.
Except for Labor Day 2001. That year, I was in New York visiting some of my favorite friends, who at the time lived in Summit, New Jersey. We spent the Labor Day weekend wandering around the big city and getting into fun. For those of you who know me, you know that generally and overall, my memory is nothing short of dreadful; but two things really stand out about that weekend. First, Mary-Louise Parker in Proof. Amazing. Second, as we walked underneath the WTC on the way to I can’t imagine what, my friends told me of their dinner plans at Windows on the World in the next week or two with some of their close friends; the husband of the pair just so happened to work in the WTC. Seven days later, their good friend didn’t come home.
It’s hard to believe that was five years ago.
Because five Labor Days ago, who could have imagined what was to come? Not me. I might have heard the name bin Laden mentioned once or twice. Maybe. I was nowhere near committing to my husband. And my sweet Hurricane was only a maybe-someday dream. It’s amazing what all has transpired over the last 1,825 days.
Now, whenever I think of the holiday, I’m always reminded of that hot day in the city, when we just happened to walk past a certain building. And I always think about their good friend whom I never knew. I remember him because he simply went to work seven days later. That’s all. He went to work. And I guess that’s what Labor Day is supposed to celebrate. Those who go to work.
So when I think of Labor Day, I think of Todd Rancke and his family. And I say a prayer for them.
And ever since, when September sneaks up on us and we start to celebrate the end of summer, I don’t really care what we plan, or do, or plan to do. I don’t even care if I have to labor a bit. I just want to spend as much time as possible with my favorite people. Because I may not remember the details of any given day, but I’m very happy to spend it wisely or unwisely with those I love.