um, summer starts…here?
the calendar months and months ago had been marked, “school’s out.” the plan, picnic at the beach, carved into our little heads.
workdays had been shuffled around, errands scratched.
it was the last day of school, dang it, a day that still stirs that once-in-a-lifetime gallump in your belly, that still can make even a mama feel lighter than air itself.
for weeks now, it’s been nothing but worries, making sure the 2d grader got the research project signed, sealed, delivered. getting the high schooler through exams, without crumbling into little bits of nerve-jangled angst.
last day of school is hardly just a picnic for the children. why, it’s hallelujah time for grownups too.
and so we weren’t about to let a little winter weather get in the way of our summer’s start.
never mind that winds were howling. and goosebumps, the skin covering of the day.
we would not be deterred.
fools we were, marching into the joint where hotdogs and gyros come drippingly (though not in trans-fats, the posters promise). we ordered up. grabbed our grease-dappled bag and set out to where the summer would begin: the beach.
the 50-degree, rain-splattered, wind-tousled beach.
hmm, seemed no need for that ol’ tattered quilt in the back of the wagon. it would not be spread across these soggy sands. maybe just around our shaky shoulders, there inside the comfort of our upholstered picnic grounds.
seemed our picnic–and thus our summer–would commence right there on seats A and B of the wagon. the dashboard, we found, made for a fine picnic table. as did the booster seat in back.
we sat, counted raindrops, nibbled on our non-trans-fats.
we were, except for the fellow steaming up the windows in the car next door, the only fools testing out the beach, taunting summer to begin, darn it. get started already.
sometimes you make do. you stick your fingers in the mound of greasy fries. you consider the fact that only summer lies ahead.
you make wishes on the raindrops, savor the immense weightlessness of that one glorious day that comes but a few times in any life: the day that all the worries of the world are lifted, and you are free, free of sitting in your desk, free of hauling lunch in lunch bags, free of filling in the nightly homework log.
those days aren’t mine any longer. long ago i lost the blessed, lung-filling magnificence of no-more-worries. that’s a gift for kids alone.
but once a year, when you’re a mama, you get to slip and slide into the dream, to pretend, until you reach the bottom of the bag of fries, that you too are let loose from all that ties you.
and, so, even when the rains splatters on your windshield, you steer toward the beach. you pour out your picnic fare. and you lick from your fingertips all that summer promises.
and you pay no mind to goosebumps.
people, what’s your wish list for summer? besides a little heat, please….