Summer Love and Hate

Categories Family, Life, Self

Summer has arrived.

Well, perhaps not by the calendar date, but for all intents and purposes, it is summer.

The school year has come to a close. Days are growing longer and bedtime begs for just ten more minutes.

And sure enough, it is the time of year for playing outside long after dinnertime, for taking walks as the sun sets, for staying up late and not worrying about whether we will be too tired tomorrow.

It is yellow. Sunshine, daisies, and buttercups fill lazy afternoons. Pitchers of lemonade stand at the ready to cool our throats when we come inside after hours of chasing fairies and fireflies.

It is green. Grass and trees have come back to life after sleeping under their fluffy white blankets all winter. It is orange, pink, and purple. Flowers and pinwheels and kites explode onto the scene and play against a backdrop of clear, endless blue.

It is red, white, and blue and every color of celebration. Fireworks and sparklers light up the sticky summer nights. Portable movie screens pop up in community parks where we gather to run and play and sit under the stars to watch our favorite films.

Summer is the vibrant color and taste of fresh fruits and vegetables, straight from the garden and farm. It is thunderstorms and moonlit mid-summer nights. It is the feel of warm breezes teasing curtains into motion, entering bedrooms to cool sticky arms and cheeks at night.

These are the weeks of sleeping in when we like, of unstructured days and unplanned day trips, and forgetting just exactly what day it is…

Summer is easy living and endless moments.

This – all of this – is the summer I love to savor.


Yet in between these delicious moments lies distaste.

Heat, humidity, sunburn and bugs…all of these things are summer as well.

In between the delicious moments lurks anxiety.

The close of the school year means children come home and parents wonder how to make this all work. If we work from home, our space and routine is instantly violated with the ringing of the final dismissal bell. If we work away from home, our children need somewhere to go, someone to be with them while we are gone? How do we balance the beauty of long, unstructured freedom with obligations and deadlines that do not slow to summer’s pace? How do we make certain that our children have the most wonderful experiences, get our time and attention, and still keep our work hours? Still keep our sanity?

What if the bugs bite and the sun burns us? What if we are hot and sticky and uncomfortable?

As with all things in parenting – and in life – the answers do not come easy. Each morning we wake to see pairs of eager eyes looking to us and asking, where will we go, what will we do, and how will we spend our days

The answers are as varied as our individual circumstances, as numerous as the children who expect that we will know. There is no right; there is no wrong.

There is only now. Only summer.

And perhaps the only answer is that we will, indeed, go and do and spend our days living, no matter what that actually means.


Tonight I spent another evening arguing with my Daughter about appropriate summer bedtimes, the speed (or lack of) with which she brushes her teeth, how much I need to accomplish and how little time there is…

I told my Husband – or myself perhaps – for the hundredth time that I feel ill-prepared for the days and weeks ahead. That I worry about failing as a writer, failing as a mother, failing at keeping the pace, failing at making summer something wonder-filled and spectacular…

And as I sit here now listening to my daughter’s (finally) quiet breath over the monitor, I realize the only way I fail is by failing to try. I fail her and myself if I do not teach her that while life is hard and balance seems elusive, we must always continue to try. We must always continue to go and to do and to spend our days living as earnestly and fully as we possibly can. For like the days of summer, our own days are far too few in number.

What matters is that we embrace each moment, that we make each moment count. That we savor the beauty, accept the distaste, and manage the anxiety.

What matters is that we go and do and live – whatever that actually means for each one of us – so that when autumn draws near, we can say farewell to summer knowing that we have spent our days well.


This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence prompt is “The things I love and hate about summer…” Finish the Sentence Friday is hosted, as always, by the lovely Kristi of Finding Ninee. FINISH THE SENTENCE FRIDAY is a link-up that enables writers and bloggers to share their ideas based on a particular sentence. To stay ahead of future sentences and participate, join our FACEBOOK GROUP! 



Lisa A. Listwa is a self-employed writer with experience in education, publishing, and the martial arts. Believing there was more to life than punching someone else’s time clock and inspired by the words of Henry David Thoreau, she traded her life as a high school educator for a life as a writer and hasn’t looked back. She is mother to one glorious handful of a daughter, wife to the nicest guy on the planet, and reluctant but devoted owner of three Rotten Cats. You can find her adventures and thoughts on living life deliberately here on the blog.

22 thoughts on “Summer Love and Hate

  1. So so true. That balance is elusive and worrisome and how DO we ensure our kids have an amazing summer full of unstructured days, our time, and still get our work done? I don’t know. But I’m pretty sure we (and our kids) will figure it out and be just fine. Here’s to summer, Lisa! <3

    1. We will figure it out because we’re smart and our kids are awesome. I think a big part is we have to learn not to instantly feel guilty about how we choose to manage it all. At least that’s a thing I deal with sometimes. We will be fine. Here’s to summer!

  2. Lisa Listwa…balance? Yeah. We all failandtryandfailandtry…and when I was still doing my transcription business from home and raising two small children…OY. It’s more like tightrope walking over the Grand Canyon in a hurricane isn’t it? Thanks for sharing!

  3. Great poetic and lyrical writing! 🙂 And I suppose even those of us who don’t have kids have to be careful of the structure-free days of the summer because a whole day can go by if we’re not careful and we wonder where it went. 😉 Ah…it’s all a balance and we do the best we can. I know for sure that you are a *great* mom. These questions you’re asking means you’re aware and you strive to be awesome. Because you are!

    1. Before we had our daughter, Hub and I very easily slid into the summer habit of passing the days without much thought. It’s very easy. I’ve been off my usual routine for a good three weeks now and I really need to get myself set in a summer routine or the next thing you know it will be July!
      I hope I’m a good mom – I certainly try to do the best I can for her. And me. It’s all related.

  4. We must have similar summers! To me, it’s absolutely delicious. I love every second of it. Yet I struggle with what’s in between – lurking anxiety, humidity, heat, bugs.
    I’d still take today’s 95 degree sunny day over last Monday’s 49 degrees and gloom! That was insane.

    1. I wonder if summer is just a smaller version of life. It is full of delicious and wonderful things. I know that. And there are always the lurking others. I suppose in summer and life, we have to find the way to work with all of it. I’ll trade you the sun and 95 degrees for your 49 degree gloom, OK? I truly love days like that so much more. I know…weird. 😀

  5. I often used to look around at the end of August and say, “But we didn’t DO anything!” But we did – they were just quiet things. I’ve grown to love the summer, but I will never love the heat and humidity. But there is air conditioning and hats and sunscreen, and days well spent. I can certainly relate to your feelings on summer, Lisa!

    1. I often get to the end of summer and think that we did “nothing,” and I know it’s far from true, just as you said. We did lots of things. But I still struggle (am struggling) with finding a way to make it all fit, balance, and work.
      Like you, I will never love heat or humidity and we just hit a couple of nasty days here. A shock after the really mild weather last week. It’s tough. I’m working on finding the positive.

  6. I think your words encapsulate summer perfectly, Lisa. The balance is always my greatest challenge- and I seem to never get it right. This summer, I am drowning in swim club, swim team, dive team, and baseball… all of which bring me and the kids great JOY. So I’m letting go of writing and online stuff for the sake of NEVER HAVING TIME to do much else….

    And that’s okay. As you say-

    What matters is that we embrace each moment, that we make each moment count. That we savor the beauty, accept the distaste, and manage the anxiety. <— YES. THIS.

    1. You’re so right, Chris. Whatever choice we make is okay, and I think we do ourselves much good when we say that and actually mean it. Guilt free. I am not letting go of the writing because I have to do that right now – have to as in need to, for me. For all of us. I’m so close to finishing this first kid book and sending it out into the world. After that…grand plans.
      I hope your summer is filled with moments that count! LOVE YOU! xo

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