I’ve been thinking lately about the nature of anticipation. The catalyst was an article written by a friend of mine who’s anticipating nicer weather to facilitate epic motorcycle journeys. Pacific Northwesterners must spend the most time anticipating and being disappointed by weather. I think it’s because we know what we want the weather to be – we even know what the weather is supposed to be – but we never know what it will actually be. Our seasons our muddy, both literally and figuratively. They blur together into one big sumautwinring. Just as the sun casts a warm and flattering light on your face, an icy breeze hits your back. ‘Round about April, I get so sick of being cold. I want to break out those tank tops, I want to crank up the tunes and go out for pleasant spring walks. By June (known around here as Junuary), I’m packing my bags and searching for a vacation home in Hawaii. Eventually we get a few minutes of summer (this is how many we’d had by mid-July last year) and I get to do those things I was anticipating. But the execution has little on the planning and the daydreaming.
Summer is perhaps the most complex season. There is so much associated with those long, bright days that it becomes more than the sum of its parts. There’s summer vacation which stays with us as the best and most anticipated time of the year, well past our school days (and I’m guessing right up until summer vacation means having to look after the kids.) There are family trips and outdoor adventures, gardening, backyard barbecues and lazy days spent lounging on the beach. And lest you think I am over-glamorizing the season, I come by it honestly, through my favorite book and one that paints the most vivid description of a summer that has ever been:
“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby.
This is perhaps my most anticipated summer, and the reasoning extends beyond my love of bare shoulders. It’s a little about how much our summer sucked last year. But mostly, it’s about being able to get out with the baby. Even more anticipated than the changing seasons has to be, well, everything surrounding babies. I spent nine months anticipating what the arrival of my child would be like, what my daughter would be like, and what it would be like being a parent. Then, at a very precise time, recorded by the hospital and in the baby book, all that anticipation was transformed and transmogrified into new anticipation. How I anxiously awaited the day the baby would hold her head up, roll over, sleep through the night. How excited I am to be introducing solid foods (not going well, btw) and how I wait with baited breath for crawling and walking. And how, with the impatience of a pre-teen girl queueing up for a Justin Bieber concert, I wait for our first summer together. Visions of tank tops and short-sleeve onesies dance in my head. And as my life began again with the birth of my daughter, so will it be renewed and refreshed by the warmth and light of summer.
I think I’m glad I had my daughter at the end of summer. We’ve spent most of the fall and winter sequestered indoors. I’ve watched her become more aware of and interested in her surroundings, and by the time we start getting decent weather, she’ll be more able to appreciate the summer activities we can do. The zoo, the beach, strolls in the park, etc. That’s kind of the meaty, inspirational, memory-creation part of my anticipation. But even those of us who have from time to time been accused of overthinking things must occasionally allow ourselves a dip in the shallow end of the pool. I spent all of last summer being very pregnant, so the tank tops I did get to wear were maternity tanks. Thus I am looking forward to dusting off those non A-line tops and digging out those non-elastic-waistbanded shorts, to finally wear that pretty blue t-shirt my husband bought me two Christmases ago, tags still on.
So for better or for worse, for shallow or contemplative, summer and all of its machinations are on their way. I hope that all that I have been anticipating comes to fruition with pictures and bonus material to spare. Hopefully all the daydreaming won’t get in the way of the plot. As John Lennon famously sang, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
So, blogosphere at large, what are you anticipating this summer? Is it the best time of year or can you tolerate the murky, cold dampness of the Pacific Northwest? What were your favorite summer activities to do with your kids (or what are you planning with your kids?)