The Myth of “The Lazy Days of Summer…”

My household is comprised of a two year old and two working adults (one of whom works two jobs).  Yes, it is summer here, but there haven’t been any “lazy” days.  I’ve been feeling really disappointed about that fact, as I watch days and weeks disappear, as the dark arrives earlier again, and as the start of the school year looms large ahead of me. Then I remember that this concept is captured in things like the old Country Time Lemonade commercials where there was often a pair of feet propped up in front of some kind of body of water and a hand holding an icy glass of artificially colored liquid. In some representations those feet would belong to a mom, kicking back, while her kid jumped off a rope into a watering hole. Let’s just face it:  1) I’m never going to be sitting with my feet up while my kid is anywhere near water; and 2) Those advertisements are capitalism in action. They are selling us a mood or feeling that we want and can supposedly achieve by purchasing the lemonade (which we all know is bullshit, and yet we do it anyway…).

In my typical fashion, however, I continue to resist what is and yearn for what isn’t or hasn’t been or won’t be. I am struggling to embrace what summer actually is (at least for us):  a bit chaotic, very busy, without routine, and not as productive as I would like it to be (which, I guess, could be spun in some ways as “lazy”!). I keep staring at the calendar each day, willing it with my eyes to slow down, to allow me to get to all the things on my summer 2017 goals list that I haven’t gotten to (which, is practically everything!).

The other night when an unexpected medical issue with Dawn’s sister (everyone is fine) had me home from work early and then rolling solo for the evening, I tried on the idea of embracing the crazy–like really trying to like it. I had to rearrange my work–doing some after Levi went to bed (not my brightest time)–give up my morning writing time to do more work, and skip my run. I could have felt resistant and resentful, but I instead I just tried to tell myself, “I love this crazy life,” and I tried to make myself believe it. I wasn’t entirely successful, but I wasn’t entirely unsuccessful either. (As a side note: I think this was an easy moment in which to practice, because I was focused on my concern for Dawn’s sister. I just truly didn’t feel angry or upset about the disruption).

I don’t believe that the Country Time Lemonade portrayal of summer exists for anyone. That, after all, is the point of advertising: to create a want, need, desire so strong that we are willing to drink overly sweetened yellow powder to attain it. So while our summer has been more curve balls and chaos than “lazy,” this also means that we have had a lot of adventures and time to make memories. Highlights from our lively and industrious summer successes (so far):

  • A trip to visit Ama and Papa (my parents) during which we played in the ocean, made bubbles, and took Levi’s first train ride (the highlight). Dawn and I also ran the firecracker four (together! alone!).
  • I attended the Iota Conferences with one of my bestie writer friends.
    • This included spending a night in the Stone Turret in Gardiner Maine
    • And a night in a stranger’s house (Air Bnb) in Portsmouth, NH, where I also met up with my parents for a couple of meals
  • We are nearing the end of a very stressful hiring process at work.
  • I am closing in on a submitting two chapters of my research project for peer review process.
  • I attended and presented at the Computers and Writing Conference (which means I traveled to Findlay, OH–wherever that is…).
  • Attended (and helped with) three birthday celebrations at Grandma and Grandpa’s (Dawn’s mom and step-dad) house.
  •  Took Levi to his first “rock” concert (Cracker and Soul Asylum) on the Empire State Plaza.
  • Countless dog walks, trips to the farmer’s market, play time on the playground, hanging out with friends, and so on….