Summer is here. It’s hot and dry. 100° and 3% humidity. I run water on the garden, grass and trees nonstop. Big Black Cat joined the kiddos in the swimming pool yesterday. He’s a water cat when the mercury soars and it’s so dry no one sweats.
Big Black Cat is ever Mr. Popular. He played water fight with five kids yesterday, ages 1 to 7. My sister and her kids came for the day. Summer means cousins at play. It means long days with hot afternoons in the kiddie pool and sprinklers running. It means mud and watermelon and ice-cream. It means swimming lessons and grandma’s house and the park. It means hiking and reading and star gazing. It means watching Big Black Cat let a baby pat him and greet each child in turn while they shriek and dance.
My childhood had magic summers. I spent weeks turning brown under the sun while my brother, cousin, and I built a rock dam in the ditch so we could have a little swimming hole. Despite my cousin being three years older I was responsible, my mom fed us oatmeal and raisins and threw us out the door till lunch time. We camped, hiked, ate melon and played in the sprinkler. As an older child I spent afternoons reading on my bed with the cat or making crafts or entertaining my sisters. A washing machine box in the garage was a space ship that docked at a card table and blanket satellite.
And so for me, having five small children loose with water cannons is a cherished chaos. We are lucky to have kids all close in ages who play well together. And having been myself the oldest of four I know well how to run such a ship.
Summer is hot and exhausting as a grown up. Children and mess are an exponential function. The garden I love so much is high-maintenance in this heat and (un)humidity. The long days give me insomnia but I still raise at 6 every morning with DD to make oatmeal. The forays to the public swimming pool have me disinfecting shoes and socks.
This summer I feel that I have finally set my life right and found peace in my heart. I did learn something from the horrors of the last year. Man-baby still hasn’t got it figured out, he is evermore desperate to find some way to get at me. And sometimes he does but I remain resolute in not engaging him on anything, not giving him any encouragement by giving my attention.
I am on my path. This summer I have all the blessings I could ask for. I am healthy. My loved ones are healthy. I have days with the kids. I sleep back to back with DD every night. )We don’t talk about it but we both know it is an honor to guard the others’ back. We don’t need to talk about it, by now we just know.) I am… happy. Welcome to summer.
What does summer mean to you? How do you know you are happy?