Publisher’s letter: Summer lovin’

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Ashley Sexton Gordon. Photo by Jeannie Frey Rhodes.

Auuuuuuughhhh, summer. How I loathe thee so. Your endless hours of sweltering heat that could make the most prim-and-proper royal have sweaty pits. Your sauna-like humidity so thick we need oxygen masks. Your mosquitoes so large they should be taken to a shelter to be spayed or neutered. Your children, your stinky children, who every three minutes ask for more snacks or to be driven somewhere. Your children who are bored before the first week of June even rounds the corner. Your children…

Oh wait. Sorry, summer. Those are my children. My children need entertaining and a salty snack. Damn you, summer. Your days are endless.

Here’s to the school months! I know, I know. I hate science projects, too. And vocabulary tests and flashcards. I hate flashcards. And I also don’t love washing uniforms. But guess what I do love? School lunches. And schedules. And structure. And the bus.

Right now, while you are reading this, I have an almost-adult-boy sitting in a lounge chair in pajama pants he’s been wearing for three days straight, and he’s talking to some kid in Timbuktu he’s met playing a video game. OK. Nix that. He does have a day job, which actually puts him outside saving young kids from drowning. But after that, he slides right back into the pajama pants and a stained T-shirt. Full cup of Goldfish crackers at the ready.

Must be nice.

His siblings aren’t much better. There are summer camps and mission trips, family vacations and sleepovers. But I would say 75% of the summer days are spent scavenging for food and binge-watching Netflix.

Let me inform you of the state of affairs when a working mom comes home to a crew of lazy leeches. It’s not pretty. It’s not stable. It’s not worth repeating.

And to send an unstable mother even more over the edge, throw some Goldfish on the floor of the kitchen for her to step on, right when she is surveying the litany of dirty plates and cups in the sink. And, just for kicks, walk out in your pajama pants and ask why all the noise.

See if that’s a good idea.

See, summer, you’ve always gotten a good rap. The beach, and the pool, and the road trips and all that. The photos from summer are the best! And the songs. So many songs have been written about you, summer! “Summer Nights,” “California Girls,” “Summer of  ’69.” Notice anything about these songs, summer? They are all focused on the teens. The carefree. The debt free. The childless.

You know why?

Because no one wants to open the sunroof on their minivan, throw their head back, and sing along with “Wet bathing suit left to mold.” Or “Not a cracker left in my pantry.” Or that jamming little number called “Back sweat.”

Let’s just say the reality of a working parent, summer, is a bit less catchy than “Surfin’ Safari.” The only thing I’m surfing is the internet, searching for one-way-trip airfare to a more reasonable climate. Something reasonable like the Swiss Alps. Lounging at a spa. With cool cucumbers on my eyelids.

I could make that work, thank you, TripAdvisor.

Alas, summer, this must be only a dream. Or, more likely, night sweats. The reality is that I’ve got laundry to do and food to restock and a child to take across town to a movie. No time to fly to Europe for a massage. But I’ve got goals that only the free-loving teens on the beaches can aspire to: I’ll spend the next three months lounging in my own pajama pants.


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