One of the most unexpected pleasures of being a parent has been rediscovering the joy of summer. For years as a young adult, summer was just the hot season. No different from all the other months – working, working, working – except it was HOT! A season to endure until fall, when the weather finally became bearable again.
I lost touch with the simple pleasures of the summer, all the reasons I loved summer as a child.
For too many years I refused to don a swimsuit, shamed by my less-than-perfect body. Refused the cold treats that are such a staple of summer, reminding myself ice cream wasn’t in the diet or those treats were just for kids. I stayed indoors in air conditioned comfort, avoiding the heat and sweat.
This year, though, I’m embracing all things summer! I’m rediscovering those simple joys that are summer.
I will not be ashamed or embarrassed to put on my swimsuit and boldly enjoy afternoons at the pool. My body is still less-than-perfect, but those places which are too soft, too saggy or still showing stretch marks now remind me that this body developed and sustained two little lives. Two little ones who still want me to play with them, who need me to swim close by. A little girl who needs to see a mom comfortable in her own skin, even if that mom doesn’t look like the women in magazines. A little boy who says he loves that I’m so soft and snuggly.
I will enjoy those frozen treats in the heat of the summer, getting back to the diet in the fall. What’s better than an ice cream or popsicle on a hot summer afternoon, especially when the temperature hits those triple digits? When’s the last time you bought something from the ice cream truck? That’ll take you right back to your youth- and, really, what better treat after an afternoon at the playground?
And the heat? Yes! I will enjoy as much time outdoors as I can! (We’ll see if I’m still saying this in August, but so far so good in June) A little sweat never hurt anyone – and really it’s not so bad the more your body gets used to it. So much air conditioning has made us more sensitive to the heat. I remind myself that we used to stay outside all summer as kids.
If I stayed inside, I’d miss afternoons watching the kids play in the sprinklers. Miss harvesting blackberries, tomatoes, carrots, corn, squash and more from our garden. I’d miss the the kids’ laughter and excitement of afternoons at the playground. Miss hearing about my little man’s day as we visit while riding bikes around the neighborhood.
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So, I’m reconnecting with summer and all the youthful fun it brings! Trying to show my kids how much fun it is to play outside. How you can have fun without a lot of expensive toys or paying admission to entertainment venues.
This summer, the great outdoors will be our playground! Who’s with me?
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