Saturday, October 2, 2010

Past Deadline: Summer, We Need to Talk

Dear Summer. We need to talk.

I can’t do this anymore. I think we need to break up. It’s not you, really. It’s me. I feel differently about you now, and I’m sorry.

I know you’re thinking this is about the weather – those alternating hot stinky smoggy days versus cool drizzly times. It’s not that, although the last-gasp heat waves of 40-plus degrees followed by a dramatic drop to 14 are a bit harsh.

Actually, I’ve been concerned about our relationship for a number of years now. I remember those carefree days when we first met, back in the 1970s, when I could strip down to a bathing suit and frolic day in and day out without a care in the world.

Oh, how I loved you, Summer!

You were warm and loving. We were about playing outside and eating Jell-O popsicles and running through sprinklers and splashing in pools and catching frogs and building forts and looking for fireflies and camping and everything fun.

As our relationship matured, we still had a great time. Even though I had part-time jobs in high school and university, you still meant a break from school. The jobs were fun and I worked with friends and we could still gallivant and play.

In fact, even when I became a grown-up you weren’t so bad – at least at first. I still had holidays during which I could enjoy your offerings. There was still travelling and patios and swimming and hiking and camping and gardening. There still seemed to be ample free time to do these things.

But something has changed, Summer, and I’m not sure if there’s any going back. Maybe it’s because I have kids now and that makes life busier in general, but you just aren’t what you used to be. You’re hot and humid and I’m – well – less willing to gallivant in a bathing suit these days. The longer I run my air conditioner the more expensive you become.

Really, though, it’s less about the weather and more about how I set myself up for failure with my own expectations of you. Every year as you approach I say, “This time I’m going to” and out flows a litany of things to do. The list encompasses everything from changes in routine to make sure we get outside to enjoy you more to travel plans to things we hope to get done around the house and so much more.

It’s too much. The list never ends.

Soon we’re busy shoehorning all these wonderful plans around work because, unlike our kids, we don’t have eight or more weeks off the way we used to. A myriad of unexpected things pop up because everyone has weird schedules during these holidays – which can be good, but not always.

As the halfway mark passes in a flash I have to resign myself to the fact I’ll probably never accomplish everything I wanted to do. This annoys me and I start to kick dirt. And then, in a blink, the end of August appears and school is around the corner and lo and behold I’m one of those moms heaving a huge sigh of relief because everyone is getting back into a routine.

I guess I’m just not that fun-loving, spontaneous, bathing-suit-wearing girl I used to be.

Even though I have felt this way for years, I think the time has come to publicly acknowledge the end of our love affair. Summer, I have fallen for someone else: Autumn.

I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for it to end this way, but Autumn offers so much more for me: routine, nicer temperatures, no pressure to wear a bathing suit, the ability to use my oven more to make the comfort foods I love and, most importantly, lowered expectations.

Sure, there are things I want to do in Autumn, but even though it’s busy as stink it’s expected to be that way. I have no illusions about languishing around on deck chairs sipping margueritas or spending countless hours gardening or swimming or hiking. Autumn doesn’t fool me like you do every year.

So, goodbye, Summer. I’m sorry, but it’s over. Here’s your sunhat. I hope we can still be friends.
Published in The Perth Courier, Sept. 16/10


Christine said...

I'm catching up on your posts. All are outstanding, but this one is especially funny.

Not sleeping much here either, by the way. :)

Steph said...

Thanks...this one seemed to strike a chord with many!