Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Sun kissed skin and handlebars

Summer in the south is such a nostalgic time for me. It was the best part of my childhood. Even now, when I swim with my crew of little ones, there are those few moments when I first slowly submerge where I feel myself slip into blissful feelings of being a kid again. The world is slow and easy. There are no things to get done or places to be other than right there in the water.

I was born and raised in Georgia. This means that I am now halfway through my thirty fourth summer here (minus one I spent in another lovely spot in Connecticut). For me, summer means okra and tomatoes, berries for miles, and greens you put in everything. It's bike riding and sitting on porches. It's dinner in the yard, watermelon dripping down your arm, and fireflies. As I've gotten older it's also become cold beer, swapping stories beneath the trees in lawn chairs, and finding a way to snuggle the baby in the heat.

This summer is proving to shape up nicely. It started off rocky with a nasty virus, but we are in the swing of things now and I couldn't be happier. Lila barely learned how to ride her bike without training wheels last summer. Now, equipped with a new bike, she is barreling down our dead end street every chance she gets. That feeling of the wind on your face as you coast down a hill added to the first full dip into the pool equals summer perfection.

She's a professional.

She's pretty sure looking good on a bike is as important as being able to ride it.

He's just dreamy.

As with all things, there are two sides to the story. Especially when the story now involves having all three of your children with you at all times for weeks. I love summer and I love my children. Here are some things I don't love about the two together.

Unless we are at the pool, and even sometimes when we are, I feel like being outside and touching a kid is like intentionally letting a slug and a caterpillar crawl down your arm together. Words like sticky and rough at the same time come to mind. Sweat and dirt, both benign on their own, take on a new form when mixed on the body of a child that MUST sit in your lap immediately.

I hesitate to blame the heat for all of this because it is an essential part of having summer in the first place. Tropical places are only as enticing as they are because it's hot and there's pretty water to escape the heat. My pretty water now comes in the form of splash pads, water features, and the pool. I love the pool we have access to, but every kid digs splash pads these days. It's the hip thing to do. So we do it. And usually there's grass somewhere nearby. So I load up three wet, grassy, half sun screened, dirty, sweaty messes when we leave these hip places. Sounds fun right?

I also take issue with play areas that should have a working water feature, but it doesn't work when you arrive. I don't go to playgrounds in the summer that don't have some sort of access to water. I am too busy filling up a falling apart swim bag with extra clothes, bathing suits, snacks, water, wipes, diapers, and the like to search the internet for the possibility of some sort of notification that your water feature isn't working. It's false advertising. Don't have a water feature at a playground in the summer that doesn't work half the time. It's just cruel.

Here we are the waterless playground where we expected there to be water.

The other day we did purposely go to a playdate at a playground that had no water. There had been a few cool days and the playdate was at ten in the morning. I figured we were good. By eleven it was time to go. There's no escaping that kind of humidity. A friend and I loaded up our rough, sweaty kids and headed to the only place those of our kind seek refuge in situations like this... Chick-Fil-A. There's yummy food, indoor play areas, and people who don't exactly serve you but do check on you once in a while. We found ourselves dealing with a combination of highly attentive employees and highly agitated children. We kept looking at each other wondering if we should smile or cry. Instead we shoveled the food into our bodies and left.  I apologized to the older gentleman that worked there as we left for the general disarray of our area. It looked like someone got in a fight with the polynesian sauce and when the sauce was winning they just threw all of their fries on the floor in defeat. Good times.

Then, there was this one day where I thought an enormous walk was in order. My new bike trailer/double stroller was itching to be used. This was pre new bike for Lila but she did have a new scooter. Off we went. I decided we should walk to dinner. This was the day I now refer to as the one where I officially lost my mind. I don't want to get into the gory details, but we spent over an hour at Roly Poly once we finally arrived. We drank gallons of water, ate more popsicles than I care to count, and prayed we would make it home. Pretty sure my neighbors might refer to that day the same way I do. They saw us dragging ourselves down our street on the way back, and it wasn't pretty.

It started off so well.

King of Pops cure all things.

Lastly, dear summer, I love you but you involve an immense amount of togetherness that my children can't seem to tolerate. Also, neither can I.  Lila came to me and asked me if she could marry Evie. She told me they love each other so much that they should get married. Five minutes later both were in my face screaming and covered in scratch marks. We don't have a cat and our dog avoids my crazy kids like the plague most days. The love and the hate runneth over and I can only assume that the time together in the heat (had to throw it in one more time) is just getting to them.

Needless to say, the good outweighs the bad. It's just that the frustrating parts are pretty funny. Like when you get home from the splash pad that has a grassy knoll and you find grass in the baby's diaper. Or when you think you wiped your kid off at Chick-Fil-A only to find polynesian sauce behind their ear and in their hair while they watch TV (not joking). Summer will always be magical. Kids can often be magical. Summer and kids together...magically hysterical.

Here's to you summer and all of your glory. We love you.

Title pulled from one of my absolute favorite songs ever written. Listen to this song and look at my pictures and tell me you don't feel the summer. 


  1. I so wish i didn't have to work and I could come play and spend time with you and your kids ALL summer long. wouldn't that be amazing??

  2. I think your summer sounds delightful! I actually miss georgia humidity!


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