I don’t know about you, but once the Fourth of July is over, summer feels rushed to me.
On paper, it’s ridiculous and erroneous, I realize, as we aren’t technically even halfway through it yet, but in my mind — especially this year — I start to panic.
Panic over our dog days ending.
Or should I say, our groundhog days.
Because basically, our summers for the past seven years have been spent doing the exact same thing, over and over and over again.
Those of you who’ve been following along for the past few years are probably like, OMG WE KNOW.
But here’s the thing. At the risk of being redundant and a bit obnoxious (which BTW, is like basically the definition of a personal blog so it’s practically required, is it not?) the fact of the matter is, I love my summers.
I love my summers at my Happy Place.
I love how my family loves my Happy Place. (And for those of you just made that gross — shame on you.)
But most of all, I love how we do the exact same things every single weekend. Things we’ve been doing since we took up residence here almost seven years ago, and before that, for the three years we rented a house on this lake for a week every August.
I guess there are a lot of people who might not get that.
Summer, after all, is like a free pass.
An opportunity to jump on the thrill rides of life.
And while some people love to take advantage of seeing new places and like to open themselves up to new experiences, I’m happily sitting in the kiddie car with my family strapped in beside me with seat belts that seem to get a little looser each year. You know, those cheap ticket, colorful umbrella-topped rides for toddlers with the sparkly cars that do nothing but go round and round and round. (Seat belts not really required, unless you *cough* don’t want any passengers to escape.)
Every weekend from mid-June to late August — and I mean every weekend — is on repeat.
We load up the cats (because feline diabetes and daily insulin injections) and drive the 2 hours up to the lake.
We stop at the same grocery store on the way in and get the same deli meat and the same nectarines.
We eat one or two times at our favorite local pizza place and all order the exact same thing every time.
We go to the same candy store and get the same candy (vanilla taffy for me, barrel candy or Jelly Belly jelly beans for the Things, gummy butterflies and salted caramels for husband, and truffles for everyone, in case you were wondering).
We play board games at least one of the nights, which are the same board games we’ve been playing forever (Loaded Questions, Wise and Otherwise, Apples to Apples, and UNO, if you need suggestions) while we eat our candy.
We grab the same picnic basket stuffed with the same snacks every night at about 8:00 to catch sunset on the boat where we listen to the same set-list. (We actually do switch the wine up occasionally, which makes us feel a bit out of control and dangerous.)
We ride on the tube if it’s nice, float in the water if it’s hot, kayak if it’s calm, and zip around on the jet-ski if we want a thrill.
We take long walks or bike rides on the trail.
We play mini golf and eat at Buffalo Wild Wings to shake things up once or twice.
We watch too much Netflix.
We read. A lot.
We sleep in in the mornings and have coffee on the deck while we work on our laptops.
We watch Shark Week.
We talk a lot and sometimes don’t talk at all.
But lately things have started to change. While we’re all still happily spinning in circles, the kiddie car is slowing down and the seat belts are shorter and not quite as tight as they used to be.
Our weekends are fewer and shorter (thanks a lot, COLLEGE and stupid JOBS). Next summer Thing 1 will be halfway across the world studying abroad and Thing 2 wants to get a job, which means our groundhog days will come to an end as abruptly as waking up to something other than “I’ve Got You, Babe” on the radio.
And I’m not sure that’ll make me as happy as it made Phil Connors.
Next week we’re easing ourselves into the transition.
We’re actually taking a summer vacation.
Going out of the country for 9 days.
That’s two whole weekends away from the Happy Place.
As excited as I am about our trip, I’d be lying if I said I’m not also a little bit uneasy about it.
Not uneasy about any part of the trip, but uneasy about what we’re leaving behind.
The pizza and tubing and sunsets? Don’t be silly, we’ll make sure to overcompensate in all those areas in August. What makes me uneasy is that the jobs, college, post-college, and yes, even the trip — all the things I can’t stop (and don’t get me wrong, all good things, I realize) — are slowly replacing one of the things that’s been arguably the most cherished and important part of our family’s history.
I look at the photos lining the walls in our cabin and I cannot imagine a summer that’s different from the one I’ve been lucky enough to live for the past seven.
But maybe I’m just looking at it wrong.
Maybe I should be looking at it like the groundhog seeing its shadow.
Perhaps there’s even more sun ahead.
Eh, to hell with the metaphor. For now, I’m burrowing my head back in my burrow where my family is still waiting with plenty of pizza and taffy and sunset cruises, and doing my best to make it last.