I can’t think of a season I enjoy more than Summer.I love all the seasons for different reasons but summer is unquestionably my favorite. It has always been. I have stored in my brain so many delicious memories of summers past.
Summer is just the sweetest of seasons. Time slows down. There is something magical in each and every day. I savor the gentle sounds of the fans whirring in the rooms of my home, the hum of the air conditioners, Red Sox games in the background on the television, grilled dinners, frequent trips to the park and library, splashing around in our pool, weekly visits to our local farm stand, reading on a blanket under the trees in our yard, the way afternoon sunlight slices through the trees creating shadows on the ground beneath them, the scent of sunscreen and the gritty feel of sand on the bottoms of our feet … I could go on and on about all of the things I love about summer.
I have searched high and low for a blog post I read several years ago about one woman’s perspective on what makes summertime so coveted, because I wanted to share it here. When I read it for the first time, I thought, YES! Someone out there, whom I’ve never met, knows exactly what’s in my heart for summertime! How could another person know this so well, this thing in my heart?
I am going to try to impart what I took away from her beautiful words, and in the meantime, I will continue to look for it. It’s gotta be out there somewhere.
She spoke of being at home as a child, away from school, classmates, the everyday-ness of usual life, and instead spending hours in her backyard, at the library, enjoying the seemingly never-ending days of summer. She mentioned “the emotional safety of summer.”
Summer was, and is, time away from the everyday-ness of my usual life.
As a kid, that meant no homework, no teachers, no classmates, no expectations, no pressure, all things which I did not mind all that much between September and June. In fact, for many summers, I presented with symptoms of anxiety caused only by an interruption in the everyday-ness of normal life. My poor parents. And my poor younger sister, who had little tolerance for my nonsense. I feared kidney failure, cancer, a ruptured appendix, AIDS caught from a mosquito bite, and a plane crashing into my house while we slept. I also loved, but feared, thunderstorms accompanied by lightning. As far as I was concerned, we were just one lightning bolt away from our house being struck and going up in flames.
But aside from those dramatics, I loved summer.
I loved being in charge of my own learning. I read constantly, I wrote constantly. Topics that were not offered as learning opportunities during the school year took on lives of their own during summer: space, nutrition, the 50’s. I made up my own projects. I felt smart.
My sister and I played endless games of Trivia Pursuit. We watched Clue the Movie over and over again, laughing hysterically every single time. Our best friends came over for swimming and sleepovers.
We boated and tubed on Captain’s Pond, docking from my grandfather’s own little corner of it. We spent a glorious week at Lake Winnipesaukee in a cottage on the water, meeting new people and making new friends, and then Dad got his own boat and we started weekending there. I picked wild blueberries with my Grammy and slept over her house as much as I wanted. I went fishing with my grandfather. I rode bikes with the other neighborhood kids on my street.
I tried different camps and detested them all. Home was where I wanted to be.
As a younger teenager, I spent as much time as I could in the pool, reading, writing, and video-taping myself talking. I closely watched my dance recital videos and tried to memorize my favorite dances. I got together with friends from school whom I really liked which was a new thing for me. Hanging out with friends during the school year was one thing; seeing them during the summer months was a whole different ball game. It was like inviting them into my secret world. Of course, there was still the Lake and Dad’s boat.
As an older teenager, I had boyfriends and friends and we all had licenses so we were at each other’s houses and the beach. But I still loved my alone time to read, write, listen to music, swim, and just be free to daydream. And there was the Lake and Dad’s boat.
As a young adult, Husband and I spent days together on end, and then for days on end I would be with friends or by myself. I worked. I took classes that just felt so different in the summer. I drank a lot of iced coffee. I read and read and read and wrote and wrote and wrote.
Once I started teaching, summer became this dreamy 10-week break that none of my friends had but me. Unless, of course, they were teachers, too, and they were not. And neither was Husband. So I had a lot of time alone, reading, writing, tending to my living space, preparing for the upcoming school year. I loved it. Every single second of it.
Now that Girlfriend and Monkey are my life, summer is filled with a lot of the same things but in a totally different way. Summer is about making memories with them, not around them or for them. And their memories are always going to vary from mine, despite sharing the same experiences together. It is pure joy to know that I am helping them build their memories of summer in much the same way mine were created.
We are living in a very technology-driven, very fast-paced, very loud, very materialistic world that slows down for no one and no thing. It is up to me to make time slow down for my children. During summer, I’ve embrace the opportunity to do just that.
We have a little bit of planned fun – Camp Invention and Summer CCD – Mother Goose Story Time – maybe a nature camp mid-August – and a lot of unplanned fun.
How awesome is it to just wake up and be able to say, “What should we do today?” and we make up the idea to go to a local farm that has amazing produce, baked goods, candy, and animals. Monkey finds a plant cart on wheels and decides to take it for a spin which keeps him occupied for a good 15 minutes. I just follow. He becomes intrigued at a constantly crowing rooster and perplexed that Mr. Rooster won’t let him get closer than about 4 feet. Girlfriend finds what she’s been looking for … edible flowers! She swings joyously from the branch of an apple tree that is only starting to grow its apples that we will soon be picking for pies and other delicious Fall treats.
And of course, there’s always time for reading, writing, art, baking, and dancing.
I would bottle Summer up if I could.
All I need is a big mason jar.