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The Year Long Gifts of Summer

Oh, August. It's nice to see you again. I guess. The thing is, I want to like you, but you stress me out.
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Oh, August. It's nice to see you again. I guess. The thing is, I want to like you, but you stress me out. You're like the friend I really want to hang out with but you chose to bring along Ferris Bueller's teacher and he's monopolizing the conversation with talk of the impending doom of climate change and that horrible ebola outbreak. You're warm and fun and full of life, but I can hardly enjoy you over this din of oncoming despair. In this case, I'm referring to the "W" word. Winter. SHHHHH! Don't talk about it!

There's still so much left to do. Hell, you came on so fast and delightfully furious that I never even got around to a bikini wax. (Ok, fine. I've never gotten a bikini wax. But I've always intended to.) We haven't gone "hiking" ("whining up a glorified hill"), gotten eaten alive by mosquitos at the drive-in, been drinking on a boat, or even played "tennis" (rather, "given the children those rackets I bought at a yard sale and swung them around on a public court until someone cries due to injury or frustration").

Summer, I just love you so. Yes, your warm breezes and life giving sunshine are my beacons of hope through the long and often dreary w-word. But I've come to realize your gifts are much greater. You relieve me of all the cold weather excuses for holing up and becoming antisocial and boring. You make life full and exciting and I hereby declare that I will spend this month reveling in your greatness and carrying these five inspirations you've given me through the less appreciated days. And maybe, just maybe, I'll find a way to appreciate them more.

Be more spontaneous.

"Hey! There are still tickets to see Lionel Richie tonight! Wanna go?" "I only know his radio hits and his reverse aging sort of creeps me out, but YES! That would be"

"I know I said the kids are so filthy that even Pig Pen wouldn't play with them, and so I should really give them a bath, but ice cream sounds more appealing. Let's go get some and slather on another layer of grime!"

Summer encourages you to throw caution to the wind, let your hair down and roll with the punches. Yesterday, after the previous 24 hours brought a steady rain and some very sad news, the kids and I woke to sunshine and a deep need to find the happy. So we threw on some clothes and headed out the door by 10:30 with no real plan. We pulled back in the driveway at 8. Blueberry picking led to ice cream, to exploring some shops a few towns over, to returning overdue library books, to burritos, to people watching...

We rarely have days like that when the cold creeps in. I find so many reasons to shoot down the spur of the moment ideas and end up deflecting the hourly chorus of "I'm bored!" with some new version of "well, I bet there will be a lot of super pumped kids once their moms buy all your boring toys that we have to take to Goodwill!" It takes digging deeper when the weather isn't as lovely, but those times you fly by the seat of your pants can be the most rewarding.

Actually see your friends, dummy.

This one's directed at me. Or you. The adults of the equation. Not the kids, they're fine. (And honestly, play dates can pretty much suck it. Usually. But that's for another time.) One can not overstate the importance of time spent with friends. It's cathartic, energizing, and so very necessary to connect with the glorious folks who bring out the best in us, who really listen when we speak and people with whom we don't have to speak about what to do when they dribble pee on the floor. Barbecues, festivals, and sunny treks to popular hang outs make those meetings so much more frequent and easy. Yet it's the sometimes isolating days of February that we really need them the most. Mark your calendars. Let's go get hot toddies and sling the latest Kimye rumors.

Have a sense of adventure.

From swimming holes, to exploring new patches of forest, summer is rife with adventure. Winter can be rife with, well, cookie baking and growing a second ass. Or is that just me?

Last winter it took until March to convince my then 2-year-old that sledding was not the worst idea I had ever presented her with in the history of time. I got her all set, indifferent if not actually excited, and sent her down the hill. She hooked right at the bottom and slammed into the only other people on the entire hill. We retired to the car to eat granola bars. We'll try again this season. Maybe even some snowboarding action. I mean, we're Vermonters. By some standards she should have started, oh, two years ago.

Drop the crappy 'tude.

It's true. One out of one husband will agree, I'm just a nicer person in the summer. I yell less. Or at least I'm outside more and it doesn't seem as much like yelling as it does projecting. The messes don't bother me in the same way (nor do I have to vacuum outside after my kids eat a bowl of popcorn with their face). Summer, I will remember the way your sun kissed my face and honor you by not losing my ever loving mind when the 3-year-old plays the keyboard with her butt for 25 consecutive minutes. I will proclaim that she is the next Lady Gaga and applaud her ingenuity. (All bets are off by minute 26. I'm not Mother Teresa.)

Let go of the schedule, Danny Tanner.

My girl is a napper. Since she's been able to talk, every afternoon post lunch she'd ask excitedly, "nap? I sleep now!?" A gem, that kid. Truly. Yet as summer rolled around, I found myself trying to talk her out of it. It felt sinful to be stuck at home for the most beautiful stretch of the day and made me feel guilty that my son had to miss out because of it. Obviously some days the real deal nap is more important, others it's more of an on the go power sleep in the car or under a tree at the beach.

Being a slave to a schedule is necessary at times. But recognizing the times you can rip it to pieces and throw it in the air confetti style is a coconut scented gift I'm holding onto.

Now that I've made these promises, summer, my love, how about you just stay? We can snack on some watermelon and I'll watch every trick you want to show me.


Find musings of sunshine, rainbows and everyday sh*tstorms on Sara's blog Oddlywelladjusted.