Monday, July 28, 2014

Making Summers 2/18 and 5/18 Count

I read somewhere that you only get 18 summers with your child. Isn't it a little mind-boggling to quantify such an ethereal thing like "summer."

I'm sure before I became a parent, I would have thought that 18 sounded completely reasonable. But now, with two boys growing up rapidly before my eyes, 18 seems so terribly inadequate.

How can you possible fit in all the melting popsicles, cannon balls into the pool, underdog pushes on the playground, and smells of charcoal grills and musty tents in just 18 years?

My very best memories from my childhood are planted firmly between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend. Maybe that's because my mom was a teacher, and had so much more time to do fun things with us during the summer. Maybe because our vacations, when my dad was blissfully away from his job, almost always took place in the summer. Camping trips to Vermont and Maine with my cousins, swimming at my aunt and uncle's pool, the summer reading program at the local library, runs through the sprinkler, and the taste of Bomb Pops. There's something so wonderfully magical about summer.

We're halfway through the British summer. We've spent our first month making amazing memories. Such a sharp contrast to last summer, when I didn't even know where the grocery store was, let alone anything fun. I wrote this post about savoring our first British summer, but the truth was, we spent most of our days waiting in line at the cell phone store or the bank.

This year, we've done a bit of exploring, including our trip to Ireland, but mostly it's been about picking strawberries. And splashing around in fountains (that date back to Elizabethan times... this is England, after all). Trips to the park and the beach. And riding scooters up and down the street with the other kids in the neighborhood.

Like any parent I have my moments of burnout. I get tired of being Entertainer in Chief, Car Seat Buckler, Swing Pusher at the park. Just this morning, I took out paints and thought we'd spend a leisurely hour getting our art on in the backyard, only to have it turn into a "he's touching me with purple paint, he stole my orange paintbrush" meltdown. It's sort of like when I was a kid... as much as I loved summer, those itchy mosquito bites that covered my arms and legs occasionally made me long for fall.

We still have another month ahead of us. It'll be full of family and friends, as we head back to the U.S. for several weeks for our first visit "home." You know what it won't be full of? Blog posts and writing deadlines. I'm taking the month off, both here and at Anglotopia. I'll be back in September, ready to share all about our trip to Ireland, our time in Indiana, and all the fun we had in between.

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