However you choose to mark the end of summer, mark it. Kids are back in school (virtual or otherwise), Labor Day weekend has past, and the weather is cooling off. For some this change of the season comes with a sense of melancholy. They are closing their pools, packing up their cottages, and already longing for the days to get longer and hotter. Well I don’t have a pool or a cottage and hot weather is uncomfortable.
This summer in particular was a complete waste. Between having a little baby and going through a pandemic, we really didn’t get out much. We thought of a few things to do next year, and looked forward to things we’ll do in the fall, but the list of summer time activities that didn’t take place in our own backyard begins and ends with going to get ice cream. Which, isn’t that the best part of summer anyway? Any other good part about summer can also be done just as, if not more, enjoyably in the spring or fall with the simple addition of a sweatshirt, but not the mom and pop ice cream shops. I don’t know that there is a wrong way to eat ice cream, but if you’re getting ice cream in July from a place that is also open in January, you sure ain’t doing it right.
We didn’t get to the beach at all this year, and while I do think that it would have been a good experience for the kids, I don’t think they missed it. Granted, they are young, but they never once asked to go. They were perfectly content to have their aquatic experiences be playing in the water table in the back yard and running around with the hose. And I was certainly happy not lugging a car full of kids and stuff to the beach, all of which will inevitably come back packed full of sand. Didn’t miss the frantic rush to get a kid out of their wet bathing suit and onto the potty in time either. I’m not sure what’s more difficult – getting a dry pants onto a still slightly wet kid, or getting a wet bathing suit off of a slightly dry kid. Either way, skipping the beach helps avoid both. Also didn’t have to worry about the amount of sand a drooly fisted five-month-old will consume. The more I think about it, not going to the beach was a great parenting decision cloaked in the excuse of pandemic related safety.
I did blow up our little inflatable pool a few times for the kids to splash around in, and what a treat that was. Like any lazy modern dad, I have an air compressor to blow it up with, but the necessary tip to adapt it to the little tube on the pool was missing. I had to do it the old fashioned way of pushing my lungs to the bring of passing out face down in the grass. Just like dads of days gone by. Except they did half way through a pack of unfiltered Camels. Greatest generation indeed.
We didn’t take any trips, camping or otherwise. I would someday like to get the kids into camping, but this wasn’t the summer for it. The fun thing about camping when you’ve got a baby who is completely reliant on breast milk is nothing. So we’ll aim for next year. But again, camping in the fall is better than camping in the summer. A camp fire is better when it is an actual source of warmth, and sleeping in a sleeping bag is more comfortable when your tent isn’t transformed into a sweatlodge with the first ray of morning sun.
I feel the only things we really missed out on were going to the zoo and going to a baseball game. But all things being equal, I’d rather do those things when the heat isn’t making parts of me stick to other parts of me. Next year we’ll go to lots of early season and late season baseball games. I’ll get my kids team hoodies, we’ll get hot chocolate, it’ll be great. Also, those places are less crowded outside of the peak summer season, so no having to take turns hoisting my kids up so they can see over the rows of kids crammed against the glass to get a good look at a monkey. Side note, if your kids are the kids who squeeze thier way past everybody else who is waiting so they can get right up to the front to see the monkey, I hope the monkey throws poop on your kid.
I get what summer has going for it – no school and good PR. But my kids aren’t old enough to be in school so they don’t appreciate not having to go, and I can see through all the pro-summer propaganda. Summer is the third best season behind fall and spring, but pop stars sing catchy party songs about summer and indie bands sing sad bastard songs about autumn so there you have it. We’ve been sold summer the same way we’ve been sold Pepsi. Well you know what, pumpkin spice is the taste of my generation!