|"You know what I love more than summer? Abandonment! Whee!"|
You know what's great about summer? The refreshment, hands down.
Refreshing drinks, refreshing dips in the pool, refreshing cucumber salad you lovingly peeled and stirred while toddlers hung off your knee caps, all of it delightful.These things culminate in one, giant emotional symphony wrapped in a delicate summer's eve breeze that find you asking to yourself, "Life is truly a gift. Can it get better than this? Did I really just say "summer's eve" without laughing hysterically?"
And then you remember that, yes, it can get better because you have yet to get a nice, refreshing, summer lecture.
The summer lecture is so incredibly special because it's reserved for the season that revolves around shrugging off winter's crotchety cabin fever and boldly marching your children to outdoor spaces, where the general public can not only observe your general parenting style but also inwardly critique it. Most parents are alike, casually nodding, smiling and partaking in a shared relief, the relief of pulling a child off a burning hot slide instead of an over-flowing toilet.
"Sweet Oden's raven, does it get anymore relaxing?" you shout excitedly to the mom next to you.
"No!" she calls back, as she enthusiastically pushes her preschooler so forcefully on the swings, you're sure, this time, he'll make it into orbit.
But that's not where the true joy is found. Not until the lone parenting wolf breaks off from the pack, do you get to experience summer's unique pleasure. Today, while at our local petting zoo, I was finally able to collect my white whale of elation.
"Excuse, me. Mam?"
I smiled broadly at the woman twenty years my senior. "Greetings, good lady. How can I help you today?"
She frowned and motioned at my five-year-old. "She was lost."
"Spiritually or physically?"
"You know what I mean. She was all the way across the park for a full fifteen minutes before you found her. I stood guard while she searched desperately for her mother."
I nodded. "Yes, I saw the search on Nancy Grace. I think we were all on the edge of our seats."
She huffed. "Is this some kind of a joke?"
"If you're talking about my life, then, yes."
The truth of the matter was I'd taken the toddler to the bathroom and left Sundance with her aunts and cousins. Sundance had resourcefully used that seven minutes I was absent to wander fifteen feet away and forget what I looked like. "Have you seen my mother?" she implored passing strangers. "She left me at birth and new parents would be appreciated." The gallant woman who was now frowning so hard at me I thought her face would cave in had "rescued" my offspring and stalked over to make sure I knew it. Waving at her and embracing my child had not been enough. I needed to fork over some emotional currency.
She raised her eyebrows at my pregnant belly. "Well, I'll have you know, that whole experience was really scary for her."
"You should see her face when I say it's meatloaf night. The poor thing looks like she saw a ghost." I patted my belly. "Oh, and don't worry about this one. She couldn't run away if she wanted to. High five, right?"
"Leaving a child for fifteen minutes is no laughing matter."
"It was seven and she was surrounded by family. Seriously, there's fourteen of us here. Did you see us earlier? I've seen desert caravans move faster."
The concerned citizen stalked off toward the goat pen to give, what I could only assume, a sternly-worded speech to goats who were licking children without checking if their parents had washed them first.
"Thank you!" I shouted. Presume me neglectful but never impolite.
"Who was that?" My cousin asked.
I beamed while I attempted to launch my other five-year-old into orbit off the swings. "Just the refreshing sounds of summer."
"Summer looked a tad sanctimonious."
"Indeed. Anyone up for cucumber salad?"
Until Next Time, Readers!
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