Last year, I wrote about my habit, started in Chicago, of making a list of must-dos for summer as a way of celebrating the season. As tomorrow marks the official beginning of summer and the summer solstice, Iâ€™m busy finalizing the Summer of 2012 list. There are the staples, of course, like pitchers of pink lemonade, falling asleep on the hammock, and staying up halfway through the night reading an engaging book. As I was pondering what to add to my list for this summer, however, I asked the small people to develop their own lists of summer must-dos, hoping to generate some new ideas for myself as well as to broaden the tradition to include my children more.
Naturally, their lists vary considerably from mine.
My daughterâ€™s list includes seeing princesses (I didnâ€™t dare ask for details and thus encourage a certain level of expectation with this one.), riding a tricycle (Phase of the week: She wants to be age three again.), buying lots of jewelry and toys and going on the Peter Pan ride at Disney World. Hello Claireâ€™s Boutique.
My younger sonâ€™s list wins the award for the widest range of ideas, including some things that just wonâ€™t be feasible at this juncture, like traveling to Africa or China and buying a baseball field, and some things that will be, like staying up all night one night and eating ice cream for breakfast one morning.
In fact, he and his brother have already accomplished the stay-up-all-night goal, after two failed attempts where both fell asleep before midnight. On the third attempt, deciding a game plan was in order, they took a nap in the early evening and stocked themselves with movies, games, books and chocolate (strictly for caffeine purposes). The mission was almost aborted at 1:30 a.m., due to a dispute over the order of activities, but somehow they resolved it and ended up staying awake until well after dawn. They then spent the rest of the day alternating between napping, intentionally or otherwise, and walking around the house looking like death warmed over.
My oldest sonâ€™s list involves buying more video games (Heâ€™s always surprising us, that one. Except not.), not becoming an idiot (his exact words), going back to the old house for a week, and reading Narnia (Weâ€™re on #6.).
So, without further ado, my personal additions and/or adjustments to my list from last year are as follows:
1. Go for a drive at dusk. Open all the windows of my vehicle, secure LCB as designated driver, and lean my head just slightly out the window, allowing the wind to hit my face and whip my hair into a fine frenzy behind me. I love doing this. Note: If you try this one, I recommend keeping your mouth shut for the duration, unless you are the roach-eater LCB knows who clearly would think nothing of ingesting mosquitoes, flies and the like.
2. Replace last summerâ€™s homemade juice popsicles with homemade Kool-Aid popsicles this summer, as per the small peopleâ€™s recommendation. They figure, why even salvage a small measure of salubriousness if you donâ€™t need to?
3. Stay outside until past dark on the summer solstice. Whether you just sit quietly or whether you are out walking, swimming, playing sports or whatever, watch the light fade from the sky and listen for the sounds of all the things that come alive at night. If we can, weâ€™re going to try to make a fire and roast marshmallows for sâ€™mores tomorrow night. I promise, no creepy stories this time. Okay, I donâ€™t promise, but Iâ€™m not anticipating any.
4. Just once, on a really warm day, stand outside in the rain. I actually mentioned this to the small people last week one evening as it began raining, and all three stood outside until a bolt of lightning in the distance brought them running back inside again. Next time, Iâ€™m in.
5. Drink a smoothie in a fancy-smancy glass. LCB is a smoothie-making machine this time of year, constantly throwing whatever fruit we have at the moment in a blender and handing me an icy glass of the end result, thus reminding me of the well-earned CB part of his name (cabana boy). Iâ€™m going to spice it up a bit this summer by putting the smoothies in margarita glasses or wine glasses, and I might even get myself some little paper umbrellas. Anyone know where to buy them?
6. Take a giant tube out into the Atlantic and float, uninterrupted, all day long. Okay, the uninterrupted part will likely be more like a shortish hour or minute. But one can always hope.
Hereâ€™s my favorite part. What about you? What are your summer rituals, habits, and practices that mark the arrival of summer for you?