It’s finally here and I couldn’t be happier: warm weather. And with warm weather comes summer. And with summer comes barbeques, short shorts, cold drinks, crystal clear pools, shady umbrellas, bottles upon bottles of sunblock, and laughter.
I’ve always enjoyed the sticky days that summer is known for. Growing up, I’d spend it laying out on my parent’s back deck, with my mom and sister, while listening to Kiss FM on my battery operated boom box. The scorching deck would blister a bare foot, so we kept flip-flops at the ready; only going barefoot on the fiery wood as we danced our way from the rubbery fold-out chairs to the refreshing pool. My mom would happily watch my sister and I as we splashed around in the pool, goofing off, making whirlpools, playing Marco-Polo and attempting underwater headstands. She only jumped in occasionally to cool off, and spent most of the day slathering on fresh coats of tanning lotion and relaxing as she glistened in the sun.
I can still smell her Hawaiian Tropic SPF 5, if I close my eyes.
It’s been four summers since she passed away, but I still remember every detail about those days. She would lay there, smoking her cigarettes and painting her nails a bright shade of red. She was a bronze goddess, effortlessly gorgeous with long dark hair, a thin curvy waist, and her favorite black bikini.
I wanted to be just like her.
And I tried to be. I would soak up the sun’s hot rays after drenching my pale body in tanning lotion and saturating my hair with lemon-scented Sun-in. But instead of being sun-kissed, I ended up with burnt, painful skin and orange hair, year after year.
I didn’t care, because I was happy.
During my twenties I rarely saw water during the summer, but instead I would spend warm days at baseball games with my husband, rooting for the Tigers. We would sip frosty beers and munch on Hebrew National hotdogs as we baked, shoulder to shoulder, under the rays of the July sun. The smell of buttery popcorn would fill our noses, making us crave the salty treat. If the Tigers were away, we would day-drink limey vodka gimlets at outdoor bars with friends. We’d laugh and talk as jazzy house music filled the air. We had no real responsibilities, no kids and no cares in the world.
Life was good.
Today, again, summers are different. Summer days are now spent chasing little ones at the wading pool with big beach hats and SPF 50. Or at the beach, sweaty and covered in sand. At home, we spend breezy afternoons on the swing, finding shapes in the clouds, coloring with sidewalk chalk on the blacktop, or sharing drippy popsicles that leave our fingers sweet and sticky. My husband and I spend cool nights on the back deck with glasses of crisp white wine as we watch the fireflies blink, and hear the crickets sing.
These summer days are my favorite, so far. They make me reflect on where I came from, what I’ve gone through and what kind of woman I have become. They make me appreciate the past, while staying present, and also looking forward to what the future may hold.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to go pour myself a glass of Pinot Grigio and listen to the crickets.
Summer is awesome.
Photo courtesy of Ann Demianenko at Unsplash.
This week I revamped an old piece that you can find here. Hope you like my changes!