Tomorrow is officially the first day of summer, also known as, the Summer Solstice. But I don’t need Sirius Rising to let me know that the Dog Days are upon us. No, I have two very reliable gauges of the onslaught of summer. First, the children stay home now instead of scurrying off to school in the morning.
Second, my hair is an absolute disaster.
Oh yes, I know the mercury is also rising slowly and steadily. It’s supposed to be really, really hot tomorrow, by the way. But that’s no way to tell the changing of the season in New England. In fact, whenever I rely on the heat index – “it’s summer, therefore it will be sunny and hot” – I inevitably find myself shivering by the ocean under a blanket attempting to stave off hypothermia.
I’ll be honest, the arrival of summer is a little disconcerting. It is not consoling to know that the children will be home for the next 12 weeks and that it’s about to get stinking hot.
Let’s start with the children. They are certainly catching up on their sleep and that’s definitely a good thing. It’s the waking hours that are troubling. They say they are bored, that there’s nothing to do, and no one to do it with. When I suggest the obvious – “call a friend, read a book, go for a bike ride” – I get the predictable response – “no one is around, there are no good books to read, I hate my bike, the tires need air” and so forth.
Back when I was a kid, we somehow filled the long summer hours. We did not get stopped by flat tires and did not become overly discouraged when the first friend we contacted was otherwise engaged. We got out there – on bikes or on foot – and somehow got occupied. Maybe not all of the time, as I’m sure my parents would point out, but a lot of the time.
As for books, well there were always many, many books lying around everywhere in my house. Mostly they resided on bookshelves in the partially finished basement, but they were accessible and I happily dove in. I know I read some of the good stuff as well as some forgettable stuff too. But I kept reading and I really hope my kids will too. It’s such a great escape. I remember my mom saying “you’re never alone when you have a good book to read.” I still think this is true and there’s something about getting lost in the pages of a book during summer vacation that is particularly special.
As for the heat, what can I say? I just hate it. Especially the humidity. For starters, it completely zaps the lifeblood out of me. And then there’s the issue of my hair.
Now, I have refrained from this topic for over a year, but I’ll come clean: my hair is a real problem. It’s a challenge on a dry, crisp day in October. In the summer, however, my hair is most hellish. It’s willful, rebellious, unruly, curly, wavy, frizzy, dark, impossible to control, coarse, and – as I age – gray. Like some alien creature, it feeds on humidity.
I spend a lot of time and way too much money attempting to tame my tresses. Gels, mousses, serums, contouring creams, leave-in-conditioners, hydrating moisture masks, pomades – you name the product (save Elmer’s Glue and shellac) – I’ve tried it. My sister recently gave me a small tube of “product” that reads: ceramic ionic far infrared silk infusion. I think it frightened her. Its price frightened me.
So, there you have it: bored kids and really frizzy hair. That is summertime for me.
Wait. This isn’t entirely true. There will be many lazy afternoons spent reading and swimming at the Underwood Pool. There’ll be plenty of fresh squeezed lemonade and corn-on-the -cob. We’ll hit the beach, take in a movie, and visit the swan boats in the Public Garden.
It’s summer after all. So, all right, roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer ...
And if all else fails on the hair front, I may end up giving shellac a try.