The Real First Day of Summer

Today is one of my many “Favorite Days of the Year”, the day after Memorial Day. Maybe because my birthday heralds the official opening day on June 21, summer stands on my platform for the gold medal year after year.   Visions of lingering days, stacks of novels, endless barbeques, and afternoons at the beach entice us all winter long.  No other three months seem so full of possibilities.

When our four kids were young, we took them out for breakfast the last day of school to the best place in town to plan the months ahead. “What do you want to do this summer?” was the question posed.  Over breakfast, we planned the summer. Each child brainstormed ideas for summer fun including train rides, amusement park trips, major league baseball games, shopping excursions and more. So fun to fantasize the possibilities without the constraint of logistics.

Every item is duly recorded, on a napkin, for future reference. Next we asked them what skills or interests they wanted to work on in the summer and what they assume is a reasonable expectation for chores. We come home to unpack backpacks and plan the first steps towards summer goals.

Now that they’re gone, I am still planning summer, this time for me (and usually Tom.)  Once again, it all seems possible in that moment.  I mark up the Ravinia calendar with lawn concerts I want to go to, pencil in neighborhood festivals, dash to the library with lists of summer reads, cut out new recipes for the grill and try to keep a copy of the best al fresco restaurants in the city in my purse. Like a kid writing a letter to Santa, I want it all!

Just like with my kids, all the plans don’t come to fruition but reaching for more than could fill my days assures that enough will land on the calendar to satisfy my summer longings.

Maybe my exuberance is a throw-back to kidhood when summer really did seem endless… although I think I am having more fun NOW.  Something in the alchemy of the warmth, the light and the melody of the ice cream truck calls my name.  I answer every time.

96 days till Labor Day.  Let the enchantment begin.

2 Responses to “The Real First Day of Summer”

  1. 1 bronx51 May 29, 2012 at 8:03 PM

    Since my summers are usually filled with ministry abroad, I have precious few weeks left of summer to enjoy when I return from my travels. I usually pick one special, delicious, achievable project to fulfill before summer’s end. Yes, there are also small delights – morning coffee out on the porch; going to the farmers market and making freezer jam; inviting friends for “experimental” dinners (new recipes). But one special project is usually picked which would be otherwise difficult to complete during the “regular” year. I haven’t picked what it will be for this summer, but I smile even when I just think about the idea of it.

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