Hey Summer, Here’s How We’ll Survive You

Summer, before you start, I have a few things to say to you.

I dread you if I’m being honest. Summer, you are unpredictable and unhelpful to a mostly single mother like me. You see, I have two children with special needs and a husband who spends a lot of time traveling. This means I’m often left to manage my mothering duties alone.

Raising little humans is an overwhelming and thankless job to begin with, but when you roll into town, I lose any breaks I may normally have. School’s out, and play dates pause, and everywhere is overcrowded with big kids who might trample my toddlers.

I can’t go to parks because I’ll have a heat stroke. I can’t go to public pools because someone may drown. You are a brutal one, Summer. You can see why I usually wish you away.

But this year, I’m prepared to face your steamy months with extra sunscreen and strength. Because I’ve learned that you are a season that repeats itself, and I don’t need more pool time, I need a perspective change.

So here’s my battle plan:

summer essay HanrahanLast year when my daughter attended a handful of camps, she thrived. A few hours away each day and she returned with better language, and temperament, and maturity.

She grew last summer. She became a little lady instead of my little baby. So off she goes again.

And my boy? He changed too. Albeit it was a rough go with him. Two-year-old’s bring a heat all their own. But Summer, you gave me the opportunity to get to know him better. He may feel like a hundred pounds on my hip, but somehow this season fused us together.

I got to learn about a little man who is full of brute strength and sensitivity. He may have watched a bit more TV than I’d like to admit, but Summer, you gave me a chance to see all the shades of my son.

HanrahanI plan to see him again.

Summer, you also gave me an opportunity to appreciate my body. I prefer hiding behind bulky sweaters and stretchy pants, but your temperatures challenge me to drop my pride and my pool coverup. You made me dive in—to the water and into engaging with my children.

My phone told me it would overheat outside, so I put that down too. There’s something to be said about disarming yourself during these months. Letting the long days lead you.

The break you offer, Summer, also allows families to travel. I’ve never done this before—too many excuses about flights with young children—but this year, we’re getting on that plane. Because the best parts of life are those you can look forward to. So whether it’s a beach vacation or a campout in the backyard, there’s no better time to seek adventure.

So Summer, bring it, old friend. I’m sure you’ll make us simmer until October when the stores start selling scarves and pumpkin spice, but I’m wishing you a fond hello anyhow.

Because, sweet, sweet Summertime, you always return with more time I dread—but so desperately need.

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