Summer Sweetness

by yeshimiqbal

Summer’s wrapping up! Indeed, the kiddos had their first week of school (though more on that in the next post, I think, I’m always a bit behind with my posts), the academic year has started at NYU. I think it’s not quite so hot anymore, and I think the sprinklers are off at the playground now, and the apples are starting to show up.

But I wanted to say something about the sweetness of summer. We had a month where Cian and Ryah were both home, mid-August to mid-September. There was of course the occasional adventure over the summer, as I’ve already described, and Kate and Ryah had many more, being, I think, considerably less tired, and perhaps constitutionally more adventurous, than me. But my favourite part of summer has never been adventures, and they weren’t this summer either. They were my and Cian’s sleepy afternoons and endless story reading together (we are currently into a set of books by Julia Donaldson my parents sent us, beautiful, beautiful! Also Cian is into 5-minute stories about the Avengers… Less beautiful.) Vanilla ice cream and avocado milkshakes in our blender, trying to fatten me up as much as possible. My Saturday mornings, shuffling around in my pajamas, listening to Cian natter on about whatever latest Lego truck he is making (actually, his activities with cars and trucks can take a dark turn sometimes. He has a habit of trying to use things in novel ways, which I try not to interfere with, because children! Creativity! Play! Innovation! This photo is something he made with a truck and pieces of an electric mixer. When I asked him what it was, he said it was “a firefighter trapped inside a torched police car.” A torched police car. I don’t even know where he learned the word ‘torched’ or how he’s so blasé about a car being torched and someone being trapped inside it. Three-year-olds are creepy).

“A firefighter trapped inside a torched police car” – Cian

Summer Saturday mornings! Kate and Ryah and Cian and I would often end up in the park just down the street. Kate would bring the kids and Cocoa to the dog run (I have no desire in my life to spend any waking moment of my day in a dog run. But Cian marches out with Kate and Ry, holding on to Cocoa’s leash, and they all seem to have a lovely time). I’ll remember, later, hoisting Cian over a fence to Kate in the park so I could wander to a café and get a coffee and cookie or something. I’d return armed with snacks,  Kate and I would catch up on gossip from the week and the kids ran around on the playground and in the sprinklers.

Farm share pick up is on Saturdays too, on the walk back from the park, in a gorgeous little community garden almost right next to our house. Eggs and a handful of veggies and perhaps peaches, my favourite part. Summer sweetness! One weekend there was a block party on our street. Music, people playing games, and families on the street cooking delicious food for anyone who wanted something to eat. Also, a bouncy house. I took the kids to the bouncy house. For me, the entire experience was horrific.  I stood next to the bouncy house and watched them, far smaller than any of the other children, leap around in a frenzy, laughing hysterically, other kids’ elbows in their faces and knees in their stomachs. “Watch out for the little ones! WATCH OUT! WATCH OUT!” The bouncy house manager guy thundered at them, to no avail. To me it is a miracle that they came out of this bouncy house mostly unscathed and without having vomited. I wanted to vomit just watching. I want to vomit right now thinking about it. But they loved it.

Community garden

Community garden

The terrifying bouncy house and the guy who was in charge of it, who I think just gave up on the situation and looked away in despair

What else? We had visitors! My brother Nabil was here earlier in the summer (and coming back next week!) He and I cooked mediocre curry, watched scary movies while Cian watched Octonauts, and took Cian to the Museum of Natural History and oohed and aahed over dinosaur skeletons. Kate’s mom was here for about ten days (I still feel bad that she had to experience our apartment flooding, but loved how she rolled with the flow with us on that). My bestie from college, Aylin, snagged a cross-country flight deal and was just magically here last weekend, healing half the angst of a lonely pandemic in one three-day trip.

In a way, this is all so very mundane, isn’t it? I’m telling you about how I picked up some eggs.

And yet, it is also all a triumph, every day.

“The Snail and the Whale” – Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler