Childhood has an everlasting impact on summertime. When I was young, the season was rendered distinct by vacations and extended visits to my best friend's house and a shallow, plastic pool. There was a year of school and then two and a half months of glorious freedom. I came to associate that lack of structure with heat, pungent grass clippings, and the reverb of motorcycles in the distance.
Now that I don't attend school and don't have a set work week, summer has nothing to interrupt. A day now is like a day last month is like a day five months ago, except that it's hotter and sometimes we go swimming. There are still clothes to wash, bathrooms to clean, articles to write and a baby to feed. I may step outside for brief intervals, but then I escape back into the air conditioning where the smell of grass and the sound of motorcycles can't follow. The season just doesn't pack the punch that it used to. Yet the idea of it can still knock me over.
When I was a child I thought summertime naturally populated itself with friends and beaches and amusement parks and lightning bugs. It turns out my parents were the ones who made a lot of that possible. They packed up the beach provisions; they drove the car filled with screaming ingrates and are-we-there-yets; they left the dishes in the sink to go outside and catch bright bugs in jars.
Now I'm a parent myself and my three year old daughter is making me realize a few things, one of which is this: summer is not going to come to me. I have to go get it and then present it to the kids as if it was always there. It's a little bit surreal, I have to tell you. A little bit hot and hazy. I'm not used to summer requiring work.
We haven't even been the beach yet, and the season is half over. We've eaten dinner out on the deck maybe twice. I haven't even had to crack the lid on the mosquito repellant.
It's time to go be a kid again.