| Musings |

Ode to Summer

Summer arrives in a blast of heat, and once again I’m hit with the rude reality that adults just don’t get summer serenity

Each year as summer approaches, I convince myself that this time will be different. I am going to relax this summer! I will rejuvenate this summer! I am going to eat watermelon and ice pops and go swimming this summer!

Then summer arrives in a blast of heat, and once again I’m hit with the rude reality that adults just don’t get summer serenity. This is how the summer goes down for all mothers everywhere.

Camp Bracha starts at 9:15 a.m., Camp Ora starts at 9:25 a.m., and they are on the same narrow, one-way block, along with five other day camps. No, you cannot drop Bassie off early at Camp Ora unless you want to pay for early drop-off. Instead, you spend the 10 minutes between start times circling the block — if you can navigate the traffic caused by the other mothers dropping off.

The rest of your day is swallowed up between driving Shmuli to Shacharis, Minchah, and Maariv, and Adina to and from the pool where she lifeguards. But you’re lucky: You have the hours between 10:30 and 2:30 to yourself, barring lunch emergencies, injuries, and the myriad reasons why your child may not be in camp. Oops, there’s the phone! Sima left her lunch at home, and her camp is leaving on a trip in two minutes. There goes your whole day, down the driving drain.


Children are hungry in the summer, and hungry children are hangry. That puts you on full-time kitchen duty, providing at least three meals per day plus multiple snacks. Think breakfast, lunch, snacks, after-camp snack, before-supper snack, supper, later supper, midnight snack. Everyone is always starving, and there’s never anything to eat in the house, despite the fact that you went shopping in three stores this week and spent $500 on groceries. Go figure.


No discussion about summer is complete without giving credit where it’s due to the ubiquitous ice pops. Those sticky, drippy, plastic wrappers filled with water and food coloring make your children so happy and your floor so sticky that you want to disappear from the kitchen and not show up until summer is over.

“Ma!! There are no ice pops left!” your kids holler. Looks like the three boxes you bought for the week have already disappeared.


Your children seem blissfully oblivious to the bags holding all their wet swim stuff that will soon turn into mold traps if the assorted paraphernalia is not hung up immediately. You feel like a broken record as you beg your children to “please hang up your swimming stuff, please hang up your swimming stuff, please hang up your swimming stuff,” while they innocently pretend they don’t hear you. Don’t let them get away with it. Wet clothing in a bag equals mold. Trust me, I know.


When those wet towels finally make it out of their respective camp bags and into the wash, they join the myriad other summer items that require immediate daily washing. Think load after endless load of muddy towels and bathing suits and camp T-shirts and socks and trip clothing and regular clothing. Don’t forget those laundry bags filled with camp laundry. They were clean yesterday in camp, but are now unwearable until they’re washed. At least you don’t need to worry about your son’s socks — the pairs he wore he left in camp. The others are still folded at the bottom of the suitcase.


But even in the summer the days eventually come to an end. Take advantage of the quiet when your sunburned children finally make it into bed (hours after bedtime), and curl up on the towel-covered couch with an ice pop.

Until you realize with a start that the ice pop you selected is not yet completely frozen and is now dripping all over your battle-worn skirt.

Happy Summer!


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 856)

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