It is almost summer, which means no more winter coats, chapped lips, or swearing under our breath while we scrape the icy windshield and the baby screams in the car seat. No more flu season or rectal temperature thermometer or cabin fever or mismatched mittens no one wants to wear anyway.
We have survived winter. We are Braveheart.
Here’s the thing though, summer in your 30s is not the same as summer in your early twenties when all you needed for a day at the beach was your towel and thigh gap. Now the sun spots have gathered into colonies and have us googling CANCER MOLES in the middle of the night. Now we need sunscreen, a floppy hat, and a beach umbrella. Now we have children.
Have you ever tried putting sunscreen on a toddler? Imagine greasing a back-talking cake pan who has been given the gift of questions while also holding his younger sister, a slippery watermelon with “boundary issues.” Does that sound fun?
I’ve never been great with analogies.
Listen, I love summer as much as the next unoriginal girl who is “always cold.” When I first got AOL Instant Message circa 1998, my screen name was summerdreams19. The perfect internet presence for a 13-year-old girl! I couldn’t wait for summer. Summer was when all the good stuff happened; pool parties, family vacation, finding ticks embedded in your sister’s buttcheek. There is nothing better than waking up to the smell of a summer day. The world is your sweaty oyster. There is nothing you can’t do (even though you do mostly nothing).
Things are different now. Now we have to face grown women wearing rompers and the constant fear of kids and water. I need a pep talk. Someone to say we can do this. We can slide our pale, jellied bodies into bathing suits and hold our head high. We can pack snacks and water bottles and carry sweaty babies to the park only to turn around because someone has to pee.
We can do months without preschool, weeks without help, long mornings stretched into long afternoons. We can apply sunscreen every dawn and give baths every dusk. We can dodge bee stings, poison ivy, splinters and thorns. We can haul heavy strollers in and out of our trunks 400 times for the sake of “family fun.”
We are strong! We are wise! We know our cousin’s HBO password!
There is so much joy that comes with watching children experience the seasons. Summer is no exception. Hot, salty, and full of magic. I am ready for its hormonal sweat.
We can survive summer. We are Braveheart.