- There are never enough water balloons.
- There are also never enough glow sticks.
- Always keep two spare bottles of rosé.
- Keep a wine key in every bag.
- Dessert can come before dinner.
- Eat outdoors every meal that you can, with as much of it grilled or skewered over an open fire as you can manage.
- Mix all cocktails by the pitcher.
- Start the grill at the same time that you start serving drinks.
- Ignore the house. You’re going to be outside anyway.
- Alarms are simply a suggestion.
I had always had a gag list of rules for summer, rules that were really geared for adults to remember what life was like as a child. The idea behind them was that summer was a time to let go of the rigid structure that was necessary the rest of the year and just enjoy the leisures and pleasures.
The first rule was that there were never enough water balloons. The second, a close follower, was that there were never enough glow sticks. Through the eyes of a child, the water balloons always run out too quickly and that all objects that glow in the night cause your soul to burn just as bright with excitement. As rules should be, they aren’t comprehensive or lengthy, just conveying a core idea, because included with glowsticks could be anything that burns bright against the night sky, including fireworks, bonfires, and the rising and setting activity of the sun.
These rules were meant to reorient your thinking during the carefree summer months, to remind you to just say yes to the childish requests because what you were giving them by allowing this freedom was so much more than just another water balloon or glowstick. Simple pleasures meant something to a child and knowing that we care to allow them to experience those unhindered was a big part of what brought joy to this season.
Some of the rules were meant to remind adults in the same way. I am certain that, like water balloons, there are also never enough bottles of rosé, summer tunes, or siestas, which shape the bright jewels of joy sprinkled across our summer experiences. The world does not cease its rotation if you hit the snooze button to take in a few extra minutes of calm. There was never enough time outdoors, especially if you worked in an office, so if meals were the only time you had, you should spend them in the open air.
I’ve always looked longingly at articles about summer that touted top activity guides or summer bucket lists, knowing I didn’t have the time away from work to embrace the carefree lifestyle that summer should ultimately be about. Those were written for dreamers, or so I thought. Articles geared to the college crowd who needed a few last years of celebrating the vivacious life outdoors or to satisfy their wanderlust. Or maybe they were geared for older women, empty nesters or young early retirees who had forgotten how to appreciate freedom and were looking to regain a life of youthful abandon. But not for someone like me – a career-driven mother of young children whose tuition payment was coming due. But just maybe this summer, I had the opportunity to give it a try, in a small way.