This morning felt like a summer day. That is to say, the kids were up at 6:00 a.m., I did three loads of laundry and bleached the outside garbage cans while trying to entice the kids to get outside and jump rope, blow bubbles, draw with sidewalk chalk and play catch with the dog on the lead of course so he wouldn’t feel left out. Summer, man.
I used to envision my summers as a parent by the raffia totes I would carry and the ban de solei I would be using. I would bake cherry pies and set them to cool on the kitchen windowsill, right next to my fresh herb garden. I would line dry the clothes, of course, but I would do it while gloriously wearing a seersucker dress, taking a moment to raise my hand in a gentle salute while I scanned the (fields? Shoreline? I never got that part clear…) to spy my happily playing children as I laughed and pulled linens into a wicker basket. I might even run my hands along the flower garden, collecting a spontaneous (and fabulous) arrangement that I would place on the dinner table alongside the home fried chicken, fresh shucked corn and sweet watermelon. Ah, summer.
So, clearly I need to rewrite my narrative or I will be hopelessly disappointed. My real summer involves real people, not stock characters that I can swap in and out of a scene like dolls in a game and I want to cherish what makes each of them lovely to me. There will be laundry, that is certain, and dinner too, but I am going to adjust my aim for clean clothes and home cooking and not how far from Betty Crocker I actually am. The kids do play happily (for a spell) but I am going to remember that when they ask for their fortieth snack and water break during a fifteen minute round of hot potato, that they are only going to be at this stage once and I will miss it one day (much like it was promised that in some weird way I would miss their wobbly, tippy-toed dance in their walkers as they cruised the house and crashed repeatedly into my heels).