These days I’ve had a significant craving for soup. Not just any brothy type, but some thick creamy goodness with big chunks of meat and vegetables, along with a nice hunk of fresh bread and a sharp cheddar to go with it. Okay, maybe it’s technically stew that I’m craving but my point, and I suppose I haven’t gotten to it yet, is that craving soup in the middle of July is ridiculous. There. That’s my point. Soup is for the fall and winter.
This is the time of the year we should be cooking out back on the barbecue. We should be pulling out the hot dogs and hamburgers and veggie-burgers.
We should be having a plate on the counter piled high with chopped up vegetables that the kids can steal from while we’re making dinner but we pretend we don’t notice because children eating vegetables is never a bad thing.
We should be itching for a light shrimp and angel hair pasta or a steak and baked potatoes on the deck.
We should be trying to decide whether to have potato salad or Greek salad or pasta salad or all three or some other salad altogether for matter. Salads. That’s what we should be craving in the middle of July. Not soup.
My neighbour and her kids went to visit friends camping the other day and her Facebook photos were filled with captions along the lines of “just waiting for the rain to ease off so we can try to get a fire going for s’mores and hot dogs.”
Waiting for the rain to stop! In July! Good heavens.
Now, this is supposed to be a “Good News” column so I don’t want to get all into climate change and the politics of it except to say that I feel bad for my kids.
Because they are still so young, summer as they know it has never been “normal” thanks to the pandemic and extreme heat. Instead, they’ve had just enough of what summer should feel like to know that they’re getting the shaft yet again this year. Last year we all suffered through the heat. The year before that was stymied to some extent thanks to the pandemic.
This year if appears we can’t seem to shake the rain.
My children have been out of school for three weeks now and have had just two swims in the neighbour’s pool and once they got out because of the rain.
They’ve had one water balloon fight. We’ve gone out for ice cream once or twice. There’s been one evening trip to the beach. There’ve been no mid-day Popsicle’s or sprinkler runs. Instead of shorts, there’ve been pants. Instead of showering to clean up after a day outside barefoot on the lawn, they’re showering to warm up after a day playing in the muddy puddles. Instead of trips to the beach, there’ve been movie days.
Now, I’m not saying we haven’t enjoyed the sun while it’s here, it just never really seems to stay very long and that’s a bummer — both for those of us who grew up out of doors in the summer and for our children, who we wish would be able to have a similar experience.
We can’t just boot them out and say come back at lunch. They’d float away!
I’m certainly not advocating for the extreme heat we saw last year that prompted us to buy the fancy air-conditioner and get used to monitoring fluid intakes, I’d like to be able to slather on some sunscreen and go play in the river with my family without the ever-present threat of rain.
I just want my kids to experience summer as I remember it can be.
I’d like to bring the bin of Hot Wheels out and let the kids make a mini car wash with the hose. I’d like them to ride bikes and scooters and play freeze tag and water guns with the neighbourhood kids. I’d like to see our cul-de-sac covered in chalk from the hours of drawing they and their friends have put in.
I’d like my kids to fall into bed at the end of a busy day so exhausted from play that they can’t stay awake for reading time. That’s what summer as a kid means to me: that sense of freedom that comes from not being at school, from being outside and making use of that unstructured time to dream up and play games, to catch bugs, and quite simply, to be kids.
My husband and I will do our darnedest to make sure the kids have a great summer, a little rain won’t kill us. We’re west coasters after all… but with this rain, much of our summer thus far has left us all craving soup.
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