I look forward to summer, to long days, to the heat, wow do I love the heat. I was never a fan of heat as a child growing up in southern California. I remember panting in the back seat of an unairconditioned car, longing to be cool, listening to my parent’s reply to my complaints, which was to open the window. And then getting blasted with hot air.
Now, with 14 (is it really 14?!) New York winters under my belt, I revel in the summers and especially the heat. I can’t wait until it’s warm enough to really cook my bones, until the heat permeates and after months of shivering, I no longer feel the chill.
Yet I’m wistful as a working parent in summer. Summer is actually more hectic for me than the school year. Two kids, usually in 2 separate camps with different drop off and pickup times, an invitation almost every weekend, always something we could be doing at any moment, and me, as usual, but even more so, keeping it all straight. It’s a whole nother layer of busy, and I find myself longing for simpler times, for the back seat of that hot hot car, when summer was down time for me.
This Saturday was full, but Sunday we didn’t have plans. The rain had finally stopped for a bit, and it was warm, dry and beautiful. We had some back to school prep (already, wow!) to do, but I wanted to get us outside and into the fresh air and sunlight.
We did our errand quickly, and there was a whole lot of cranky going on, the type that had me sitting in the aisle of the store, comforting a distraught child. We forged on, me momentarily questioning my sanity at bringing us out when we could be resting in preparation for the week to come.
Ice cream from one of our favorite local stops helped some. The hike I planned seemed doomed to fall by the wayside, but a brief dip at the base of a 60 degree waterfall revived us. They were ready for it, and we did it. A short hike under the deep, shady, canopy of trees, they spied chipmunks, millipedes and many (scary to someone almost 6) daddy long-legs. One was tired, the other committed to finding a place where we could dip our feet in the water once more, because “why did I wear these hiking sandals anyway!” We found it, the water refreshed us once more time, and we turned toward home, the setting sun beginning to peak through the layers of branches.
My to do list is long, downtime short and I often feel torn between doing something fun, and doing less, and I’m always aware of what needs to be done. I’m coming to believe there is no one right answer to the question of “how do we spend this day, ” and maybe the best answer is just to show up as best we can in any moment, whatever the moment brings. But I’m grateful for the sweet afternoon on that warm summer day.