I’m a real darling of summer. You wouldn’t know it to glimpse my skin, which remains as translucent in August as it does in February, or to take stock of my beach attire, which is decidedly “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.” Alas, I am.
I love summer, and summer loves me. We have a symbiotic adoration and respect for each other. I appreciate the lazy way its days pass, and it relishes the way I do absolutely nothing with them. Now that September has arrived and school is beginning to fire on all cylinders, summer and I are being tugged violently apart. It’s an ugly breakup, in which I sob on the floor while it promises to call me again once it has a little time to figure out what it wants.
So summer goes tiptoeing away while September comes, over-eager, rushing in, with its crisp nighttime breeze, to whisper in my ear, “You’ve worn that cover-up for 75 days straight. Time to change.” I tremble with the weight of that truth, because as surely as I succeed at the nothingness of summer I fail with the productivity of fall.
Summer places me at the top of the heap, a best in class, in the following ways:
— Turning a blind eye to pajamas with holes in the crotches worn all day long.
— Providing a daily diet of foods that fit into hot dog buns.
— Checking voicemails four weeks after receiving them.
— Opening my laptop only when it dips below 60 degrees.
— Eating potato chips out of the sand.
— Forgetting where the YMCA is located.
— Knowing exactly what time the food trucks open and which ones take credit cards because I have also forgotten where the banks are located.
— Getting sunblock into eye sockets.
— Not brushing the hair on anyone’s head.
— Finding every piece of cutlery we own on the lawn.
— Forgetting about things like propane, because who cares about hot water, and using a dryer so long as you don’t need to turn on the heat anymore.
— Telling people the wrong number of children I have because the neighborhood kids have become a part of the count.
— Getting splinters on docks and not removing them until the next splinter does it for you.
— Knowing exactly which aisle the s’mores stuff can be found at Rite Aid.
— Losing one shoe of every pair we own.
— Getting stuck in hammocks.
Fall, on the other hand, makes it its business to remind me that I can be counted on for the following:
— Forgetting every appointment I booked.
— Being late for every appointment I remember.
— Mixing up lunch box notes so my son gets, “You are the prettiest princess in the realm!”
— Packing lunches in the car with things like chia bars, fruit squeezes, Band-Aids, flashlight batteries and maps of Ohio.
— Telling the kids all the corn mazes burned down this year.
— Telling teachers the kids read the complete works of Fyodor Dostoyevsky over the summer, despite the fact that “Everyone Poops” seems to be really challenging them during reading time.
— Being grateful to the propane guy, who shows up unscheduled and says, “I’m gonna lead this horse to water.”
— Letting apples rot on the counter.
— Remembering I have a P.O. Box.
— Arriving late to PTA functions and announcing, “I have only 12 minutes for this business. Did anyone bake any lemon bars for me?”
— Leaving the house with a hairbrush suspended within my hair.
— Completing all the punches on a coffee shop loyalty card in a day and a half.
— Asking old ladies if I might help them across the parking lot in exchange for them doing my grocery shopping.
— Gaining 10 pounds but telling everyone it’s all the layers I am wearing.
I look at the calendar and tally the days until summer of next year returns. The days stack up to a number that exceeds the dollars in my retirement account: 288 more days, 288 more fuel refills, 288 more bowls of chili, 288 windshield scrapes. Alas, summer will come back to me. It always does. Just as soon as it’s had enough of that wretch Winter.