Musings from the Editor of About Our Children

Summertime, and the living is easy.


Summertime is no school. No homework. No heavy-duty responsibility. It’s vacation. Then why does it feel busier than ever? And why does it feel like it’s slipping away? The days are long; the weeks are short.

This summer was a novel one. For starters, everyone has been home. And for the first time, Yehuda and Shaina both worked in day camps for the first half. It was a great experience for them. But supporting my working children meant setting the clock almost as early as I do for school to get up and help with a hearty breakfast. The day was filled with the requisite responsibilities, capped by making sure my famished working returnees have a good dinner.

Another summer activity that kicks into high gear? Laundry. More washing, including the two (!) staff camp shirts the kids got for a five-day week. Don’t we wear fewer layers in the summer? Then why are there more loads of laundry? T-shirts are thinner than sweaters, but more time is spent in the laundry room. We sweat more. We change more often. There are bathing suits. And towels!

Now the children are switching gears. They enjoyed their work — their first paychecks. For the latter half of the season they will be pursuing more creative activities. Yehuda will hone his funny bone in comedy camp, and Shaina, her flare for drama in theater camp.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m ever filled with gratitude for being busy with the family, but I can remember feeling that summers were long and languorous when I was growing up. There were plenty of days filled with camp, and days spent at the beach club, but there were also many days that I recall just simply hanging out.

It was unscheduled time in which I would sleep late, watch television, and, at high noon, go into the backyard. There I would recline  on a lounge chair, slathered in baby oil, with a reflector positioned on my chest for maximum effect, to soak in the sun while a portable radio played the Top 40. After the sun session, I would make sure to wear something white to highlight the tan, which, of course, manifested first as a sometimes-painful burn.

In those days the evenings melted into nights when our friends would meet outside. It was innocent fun. Summer felt forever.

The long summer was sometimes punctuated by a trip to the country. My parents would take us to visit cousins in a bungalow colony or to a hotel upstate. We would make our weekly visit to the beach on the weekends. The overall feeling was that the summer was expansive, wide and open.

How the perception of time has changed! Perhaps it’s just like the proverbial sands of the hourglass that seem to run out more quickly when the glass is nearly empty. Time feels like it’s moving faster as you get older.

How to slow it down? How to enjoy it more? How to feel the season?

Just surrender to the summer. Like children do.

I hope that my children are having and will remember their long, happy summer.

Because school, after all, is just around the corner.



About the Author
Heidi Mae Bratt is an award-winning journalist and the editor of About Our Children, the parenting magazine for the Jewish Standard.