~~ Originally printed in The Chapel Hill (NC) Weekly, May 2012 ~~
EOGs are over. Memorial Day has passed. Solstice, schmolstice. As far as I am concerned, summer is here! If you’re not yet overflowing with seasonal enthusiasm, perhaps my Top 10 list will help.
Why I love summer:
10. No school! Sure, I still have to leave the house at the same time in the mornings, but since there are no kids asking me to sign pages of paperwork right-now-right-now-I’m-gonna-miss-the-bus, I get to sleep a little later. And homework-free evenings? Yes, please.
9. Local tomatoes and watermelon! Ripe, luscious, juicy. Really, is there anything that tastes more like summer? Oh, and easy: What’s for breakfast, Mommy? Watermelon. What’s for lunch? Tomato sandwich. What’s for dinner? To-mah-to sandwich. Dessert? Watermelon. Note: 2/3 of the children in this house will not eat a tomato sandwich, but this is my list.
8. Lots of daylight! I am not a night owl. I turn into a pumpkin as soon as it gets dark out. Yeah, I’m not a lot of fun in the winter: Mommy, can we go to Staples? At this hour? It’s only six o’clock. Sorry – I’m in my jammies. But in the summer, I’m ready to go, go, go.
7. Less clothing! I’m talking shorts, t-shirts, and sundresses instead of sweaters and jeans. Even with multiple outfit changes due to trips to the Exchange Pool or a fall into Bolin Creek, the laundry load is always lightened in the summer. For our family, that may be a bit like bringing a cup of water to a forest fire, but I’ll take it.
6. Quality downtime! I can be a bit of an indoors sloth – and allow my children to do the same – in the winter. See #8, above. But in the summer, we get more creative, with trips to the Morehead Planetarium, Ackland Art Museum, and other enriching, air-conditioned spots.
5. Ice cream! (And frozen yogurt.) We can walk to Fresh Taste, Ben & Jerry’s, Yogurt Pump, and Cold Stone. We also drive to Yopop because who doesn’t love self-serve crushed Butterfingers? All frozen confections taste better when it’s 90º–plus.
4. Pink wine! It’s delicious. It’s refreshing. It’s pink. It’s what’s for summer.
3. Freedom! It’s hard to feel too constrained in the hazy daze of summer. And I say that as someone who works in a cubicle. There’s always the promise of an open road, a Justin Timberlake song, and —
2. The mountains! The beach! While summer here is hard to beat, our central location means that in under three hours my family can be enjoying cool(er) Blue Ridge vistas or salty coastal breezes. And so can you.
And my number one reason for loving summer in Chapel Hill and Carrboro:
1. It’s hot! Every single day. When I was in Southern Egypt during a heat wave, and the Nubians were wilting, I was okay. I may not know how to act if we get more than two inches of snow, but I kind of wear my heat tolerance as a badge of honor. Right next to the one that says, MOM.