The days left in the school year are dwindling fast and the weather is getting warmer and warmer. That can only mean one thing: summer is on it’s way. Summer, a season I once celebrated by sleeping in until noon everyday, then covering myself in coconut-scented oil and basking in the glorious rays of the sun. Oh, how times change. Now if I manage to sleep until seven I feel like half the day has been wasted and I don’t venture into the sun without SPF 55 and a hat. It is as I have suspected for quite a long time now—I am an adult.
Let’s face it, summer is for kids. No school, staying up late, perfect weather for being outside all day everyday, ice cream melting all over little hands—this season was made for kids. I used to look forward to summer, but that was before I was a mommy. Now, I dread it.
The three months of the year that all kids look forward to with eager anticipation are the same three months that make me cringe. For three long months I won’t be able to enjoy solo grocery shopping free from the constant sound of, “Mommy, can I have this?” For three months I won’t be able to run errands quickly and efficiently; I will now be encumbered with migraine-inducing whining while dragging an errand-resistant child everywhere I go. I’ve done the math, a complaining child adds a minimum of thirty minutes to the average chore. It also takes four months off the average mother’s life span.
I was just about to shake my fist at the sky and curse my fate, when I saw it—a colorful array of chalk drawings covering the driveway. There’s nothing that makes me wish it would never rain again like a driveway full of chalk art. And suddenly it’s like a big chalk smile is covering my face and I can see summer for everything it truly is.
Summer is freedom from the constraints of the clock because if the sun is still up, then certainly there is still time to play.
Summer is when all the Legos and doll houses and stuffed animals are replaced with the coolest toys ever, the ones made my nature: sticks, leaves, and flowers.
Summer is when the pending arrival of the ice cream man feels a lot like waiting for Christmas only better because the ice cream man comes everyday.
Summer is about scraped knees covered in bright-patterned bandaids.
Summer is about taking a break from everything just to lie down in the grass and decide what those clouds up there in the sky really look like. It’s an elephant! An elephant with a guitar!
Of course when you spend all day outside, it’s not long before the housework piles up inside. And I will inevitably start worrying about things like laundry, vacuuming, and cooking. But I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that a messy house is sometimes a great souvenir from a day spent outside, away from the television and video games, a day spent in the fresh air and sunshine, filled with laughter.
Right now I’m not worried about all the work that needs to be done because right now there are big, fluffy clouds in a bright blue sky and a little girl who truly believes her house is a magical castle, no matter how much dust is on the coffee table, just waiting for me to come outside and play.