I hate summer.
I don’t mean that in a hyperbolic, whiny, “Oh gawd, this sucks!”-whingey reality tv star way. I mean that I start to have panic attacks in May realizing that (in a Game of Thrones foreboding voice) summer is coming.
It’s not just the bright light, the sweat inducing heat, the biting and stinging insects, sticking to everything, the air burning your lungs as you breathe, not being able to sleep at night, or the smell of other people as they “enjoy the sun” without bathing. No, it’s that my children want to be out there enjoying it as well and I find every excuse possible to avoid going outside so they won’t discover my secret. I hate summer.
Which makes me feel a.) that I’m a neglectful mom, b.) resentful of feeling that way and c.) increasingly hateful towards hot weather. See the cycle?
Meanwhile my children line up at the window and comment how beautiful the surface of the sun is today (I’m sorry, “our yard”) and ask what the plans are for the day.
I reply with tentative plans for the day that don’t involve me standing in direct sunlight, chasing Owen down to avoid him being injured or sudden death, and something that entertains Nora. That’s right, we stay home or we go to indoor playgrounds.
When that fails? We do lots of errands from our air conditioned car, we go to the movies, we do indoor playdates, or… starting to get the picture?
I was brave and suggested that we go to the zoo for Father’s Day. It was 80 degrees by 10 a.m., we got there at the opening of the gates at 9 a.m., I wanted to leave by 10:01 a.m.
Owen had no interest in the animals. He ran without stopping unless we physically restrained him in our arms. By “our” I mean his father had to hold him for easily 75% of the outing. We didn’t leave until noon.
In the midst of this I realized yet again that my discomfort meant little in the grand scheme of things. Much like childbirth, the agony isn’t forgotten but the joy isn’t either.
The laughter, the light in their eyes of surprise and delight, the muggy ride home covered in sticky grime on the slow train through the city. Summer is painful to me but the memories of the joy they share and inspire for me certainly help.
When that fails, the magic words of “summer evening cocktails” is better than a balm on my blistered feet and sunburnt forehead.