It’s kinda like the rest of the year, only hotter and with the added stress of finding something to keep the kids busy for two months.
Solutions to this problem generally involve mortgaging the house so you can place them in summer camps or, in the case of a teenager who can’t find a job, making the random drive-by to ensure they’ve (best-case scenario) actually gotten off the couch and performed some menial chores around the house or (worst-case scenario) invited over a bunch of hooligans and thrown a “House Party” worthy of Kid ‘n’ Play.
I usually can’t wait for school to start.
And if you’re wondering how I became the crotchety old man from Dennis the Menace — screaming at kids to “stay off my lawn” and “don’t sit so close to the TV” and “turn that music down!” — you’re not the only one. I used to be fun. I used to be cool. I used to not be so old.
Life takes its toll. Personally, I blame summer. No time of year that makes me sweat before breakfast can be all that special.
Yet, as parents, it’s easy to get caught up in all the junk — the stress, the worries, the day-to-day frustrations — that rob us of the amazing moments taking place right in front of our tired eyes. Summer is supposed to be the time to catch up on all we’ve missed during the year — a few stolen days before our kids are grown up with kids and problems of their own.
We have to make time to enjoy our children before our lives become the stuff of a Cat Stevens song.
I had such an occasion when I took Jellybean and The Diva (and The Diva’s boyfriend, ’cause I needed at least one dude with whom to share the experience) to their first Atlanta Braves game on the Fourth of July.
Though neither daughter cared about the game, the atmosphere kept them enthusiastic long after the last pitch was thrown, the funnel cake was eaten, The Wave was completed, the Kia was parked in the garage and the covers pulled snugly over sleepy eyes.
After all, it was the perfect summer night for:
• Watching a baseball game in the midst of thunderstorm
• Teaching Jellybean the chorus to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” while whacking the heads of the couple in front of us with a foam tomahawk
• Pink ponchos, a tube of birthday cake ice cream, fried Oreo Cookies and over-priced beer that was warm before we got back to our seats
• My fear of ending up on ESPN as the guy who dropped the baby, held on to the beer and got hit in the face with the ball (No, I wasn’t that guy)
• Explaining to Jellybean why we couldn’t go play on the field after the game
• An Athens-based singer/songwriter singing “Wish I was 21…” after the game while The Diva sang along
• Jellybean cheering for the fireworks as they lit up the night sky.
Pretty soon, The Diva will be a junior in high school and Jellybean will be a kindergartener. Life will once again start speeding past. Hopefully this will be one memory that we’ll all cling to in the years to come. And while the Braves may have lost the game, lookin’ back, that doesn’t matter much.
Summers come and go. But perfect summer nights can last a lifetime.
Contact Brett Buckner at firstname.lastname@example.org.