Summer begins when school ends. It’s so in my middle age as it was in my childhood, but only because I have children. Otherwise, I would neither know nor care when school ends. I wonder how I’d know it was summer.
As a boy, I knew how to get the most out of summer. It wasn’t deep instinct or calculated action – summer came, and I got busy in it. But as an adult, sometimes I barely notice summer among the worries and the work. Then the boys go back to school, the leaves start to turn, and I become angry that I didn’t do more with the warm-weather days.
My sons live with me half the summer, alternating weeks between their mom’s and here. Good heavens, do I love the summer schedule. Last week was the first week of summer and I had it to myself. After work, I resisted the pull toward chores and bills. I spent my evenings outside doing things I wanted to do, in shorts and and a t-shirt, my dog always with me. One night I drove around in the country, enjoying a golden sunset, Gracie looking out from the wayback of my wagon. Another night we went to Broad Ripple, a funky, walkable Indianapolis neighborhood. We took pictures with a new old camera and enjoyed the attention a guy gets when his dog is on the leash.
This week my sons are here. After I’m home from work I’m trying to not squander our evenings. There’s more structure and more to do when they’re here – more laundry, more cooking, more cleanup. But we’re making time for a stroll through my little neighborhood after dinner, or we’re driving to the park to hike along the river, or we’re sitting on the deck talking, or we’re going for ice cream.
I’m not letting this summer get by me. No, not this one.