Sunday Salon: Summer Reading, Schmummer Reading.
I think that, in college, or high school, (or, if you want the straight facts: some, fictional, unimaginable time prior, to my life with children) reading took place in the summer.
I remember, even though we went to classes, camps, the lake and the beach, my mom always ordered these cool boxes of books from Scholastic that held specifically selected titles geared for whatever grade we were “rising” to, that fall. We always signed up for reading challenges and clubs at the local library and we re encouraged and brings books, buys books and read books on vacations.
In high school, I did a lot of working and traveling, by myself, with friend and with family, everywhere I went, I had a book.
In college, even though I took multiple classes at North Eastern’s summer school, worked more than one job a summer, traveled and did other , undisclosed, “college student on summer vacation” activities, I always knew summer as “The wonderful time I get to read things that weren’t assigned by a professor, no matter how interesting my political science syllabus looks”.
Little did I know, those days would eventually run out.
These days, if the sun is out, reading’s out!
Some of that has to do with the modern American real world‘s inability to allow time for a remotely leisurely anything. In all honesty, though (and you knew where this was going), most of that has to do with these two little beings I have in my life, now (who I wouldn’t trade the world for) who take precedent on the beach or the plane (Lordy, do they, on a plane!) over anything else, including, on more than rare occasions, breathing.
That’s right, instead of grinning while I pull a finished stack of books from my suitcase upon my return home, I often find a sand-crusted, sticker bookmarked, slightly soggy book I vaguely remember reading a detached three sentences of during a two-week stay at the beach.
It’s more often the case, these days, when we pour ourselves back into our normal shoes, post-vacation, I find myself constantly mumbling my new vacation mantra, or, as Father Frog states at the end of Froggy Goes to Hawaii, “I think I need another vacation!”
This feeling of unworthy-bookishness remains consistent throughout the rest of the summer, as well.
For a while, it was looking up. With Kai increasingly independent, our afternoon park trips promised to be a hopeful reading sanctuary. I eventually got the hang of having a “kid” versus a “toddler”, got a grip and swallowed all parental playground anxiety to sit on a bench with a sleeping, Ergo’d baby, happily and deliciously flipping pages.
Then, of course, the little one started to have “ideas”. Now we explore on knee and tentative foot, the cement, grass and woodchips which delights my mini mover as well as all cooing parents and grandparents within a five-mile radius.
This is parenting and it is more active in the summer, especially in Atlanta where there are parks, playgrounds, pools, festivals and “things” to do in our community 25 hours a day, 8 days a week! Far from actually being “over-scheduled”, we prefer to simply wander but, again, wandering is a book-less game, especially with small children.
Am I bemoaning what some perceive as the “interference” of children on my previously “adults activities, like reading, only” life?
No way. I wouldn’t trade my kids for all of the books in China.
Am I excusing myself from all summer reading to romp in mud puddles and hang upside-down from monkey bars?
Hardly. I’ll always have my book with me, regardless of the two sun-filled months it might take me to finish and review the specific piece in question.
All I’m saying is that my TBR list had better start running if it wants to keep up its bulk when the fall hits. Its days are numbered once the no-longer-lazy-days of summer hit the road.