There is, it seems, a universal creed: summer is wonderful! summer is awesome! we all love summer! It must hark back to those endless summer days during childhood, when you had nothing more pressing than trying to finish all of your library books before the due date.
Now that I am a grown up, though, I dare confess: I don't love summer. The first post-school week has found me grumpy and annoyed and irritated, and I know exactly why: there is always someone home. I know that sounds horrible for a mother to say. But during the school year, I can carefully arrange my time so that I get a little bit of solitude. Selfish or not, I am renewed when I am alone for awhile. It helps me control my moods and feel rejuvenated.
I'm not sure—probably there is something wrong with me. Shouldn't my motherly instincts override my craving for solitude? Honestly, it's not as if I don't ever want to see my kids. I love them, and I love spending time with them. But I have grown used to having a few minutes to myself sometimes.
And it's not just the lack of solitude. I don't love summer because it is hot. Hot makes me grumpy and prickly. We recently did an energy audit, and one of the suggestions was to keep the air conditioner at 78. Seventy eight? really? I usually keep it at 74. Or, OK, 73. I took the energy-audit guy's word for it. I turned up the thermostat. I thought that four-five little degrees wouldn't make that much of a difference.
Even with all the ceiling fans spinning, I am hot and bothered. And not in a good way. I keep standing in front of the (new! programmable!) thermostat, my I'm-so-hot-I-could-melt frustration fighting with my I-should-be-a-responsible-user-of-energy desires.
Plus, there's the sudden attack of hay fever. Why is it that we can engineer spacecraft that can whisk a human being to the moon, but no one can make a hay fever medication that actually, you know, works? My eyes—already irritated from my new contacts which are not right in an indefinable way that my eye doctor can't seem to fix—are itchy, that deep-down-in-the-corner itch that's impossible to reach. My throat is scratchy and my nose is stuffy and itchy, and if I dare take a deep breath I sneeze. I've taken everything you can think of and all that any allergy medication does is A---make me uncontrollably sleep (even the non-drowsy stuff) or B---nothing.
Plus, there's shorts. Am I the only Mormon woman who has issues with shorts? I'd almost rather shop for a swimsuit than shorts. It's impossible.
But you know, writing down all my anti-summer arguments has had one unlooked for benefit: I just realized that it isn't only the lack of solitude that's making me crazy. It's just this entire season. Which really is sort of lame on my part, because do I really want to spend 1/4 of my entire life being annoyed, irritable, grumpy, and overwhelmed by the need to scream like a fishwife over a lost flip flop?
So, I am taking a deep breath. I am hoping someone will understand my need for solitude and tell me I am not as horrible a mother as I feel. I am reminding myself of summer's great qualities: flowers. Trips to the park and the other activities we are planning. Unfettered attraction to Sonic's happy hour. Being able to go running in the mornings without worrying about the carpool schedule. Never having to say "did you do your homework yet?" Not having to deal with school-uniform laundry. Mowing the lawn. Fireworks.
Plus, there's this idea: If summer comes, can fall be far behind?