“Caayyke?!” muffled my nearly-two-year-old, Pinball, through the remains of the cupcake I had just watched him gobble down like he was the odds-on favorite at a county fair contest. He stared up at me hopefully, grinning through his little white-frosting goatee. I hadn’t even known that he could say that word.
I wavered at those big, piercing blue eyes as I scrambled to think of a way to pass it without his mother’s piercing blue eyes noticing. But his attention failed him. He darted away, giggling as his little bare feet slap-slap-slapped the bricks of our back patio. At least we were outside, so I could sweep the crumb trail into the grass later.
I was glad to be out of the house in any case. The sun had finally broken through all the soggy weather we’ve had here lately, so we jumped at the chance to host a small backyard party. We thought just hanging out in the yard with some friends would make an easy get-together to erase the week.
Turns out that doing nothing requires a lot of prep. Clean the pool. Sweep the patio. Order the sandwiches. Buy the beer. Ice the beer. Get to the hair appointment (my wife and Dolly, mind you). Pick up stuff to make s’mores. Wash off the furniture. Find some kindling for the fire pit. Put the laundry away. Find the new goggles. Pick up all the toys.
I almost forgot to feed Pinball. His first cupcake apparently made up for that. Thanks for friends who like to bake.
Despite all of the work, which is typical, summer has become my favorite season. I used to like autumn the most, with colored leaves, jack-o-lanterns, and fireplaces. Now, that means clogged gutters, waves of trick-or-treaters, and high propane prices. I’d rather endure the heat, and a couple of seasons of rebuilding.
As our friends all finally pulled away, waving goodbye through open windows, I thought things had turned out well. The one day had balanced out more than a week of rain. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy summer so much now.
And aside from the outdoor parties, it’s not as though it’s without headaches or that I won’t ever change my mind again. But my summer memories are my favorites. And I relish the reward of making new ones, like watching the kids forget about everything else as they barefoot around in the twilight, looking for fireflies.