"No Child Left Inside" · Conversations with Kids · Education · Family life · Growing Up New Hampshire · Mom is Doing Her Best

Dear COVID Summer 2020

Summer season, we weren’t really sure how you would turn out based on what spring of 2020 had to offer us thanks to the pandemic. However, in terms of summer, you were good to us here in northern New Hampshire with more days of sun than rain, yet enough rain to keep the grass green, our garden and flowers plentiful, and the forests from fire. This sunflower– this big and beautiful sunflower– is my first I’ve ever grown and she is about six feet tall. We had sunflowers and daisies at our wedding because I find them to be the happiest of flowers. Bold, bright, and full of hope of what can grow when the water, sun, soil, and love are there in copious amounts.

Summer, you let us swim in your rivers and hike many mountains and play safely in our yards and woods. You encouraged us to ride bikes and even get back into downhilling again, enjoying the peace and quiet of the woods, interspersed with the occasional gleeful “woohoo” from my favorite 10 year old as he sailed over one jump or another. You taught our nine year old how to examine the tomatoes and the cucumbers and zucchini knowing when to pluck and when to let grown a little longer. You came in blueberry picking and peach eating, one sweet bite after another. You let us swim in big waves with cousins at the ocean. You let yourself linger on our front porch with sunsets and hummingbirds at the feeder and grasshoppers and cicadas and swallows of all kinds.

You welcomed many tourists to our region, and by the sheer grace of God and all that is good in the world, somehow– some way, our COVID numbers remained low, even non-existent in some communities. Thank you. You witnessed most people visiting our town wearing masks and appreciating the fact that they were visitors to a pretty perfect place naturally in the universe. You also witnessed some who couldn’t be bothered with masks or their garbage, but thankfully there were those who cared more. Thank you summer for encouraging our economy, even though I personally wanted nothing to do with waiting in a long line six feet apart for a spot at the table; I’m grateful to those who did in support of our restaurants and bakeries and coffee shops and ice cream scoops, and tourist attractions. Summer, if you had been extra rainy or stormy or dismal, it would have been different for all of us.

However, summer, you radiated from Memorial Day Weekend until now, Labor Day, the beginning of September. Your warmth, sunshine, lure to the outdoors has stayed with us for many months, and quite honestly, I’m sad to see you headed south for the winter. The nights have started to be chilly already, but the days still are full of your goodness, sunflower-fueled energy for the weeks and months ahead. As a mom, I know I’ve kept my kids outside even more than usual since the world shut down back in March. We’ve been out early and sucked our marrow’s worth of summer, full send, every day; my hope is that it will be enough Vitamin D to sustain us when the darker days looming ahead are upon us.

Summer, I want to keep you close for as long as possible. I’ve never needed summer more than this year, and you were glorious, truly exceptional. We return to school, also in full send mode, on Tuesday, and summer, I’m taking you with me in my pocket. You might be in the form of one of Greta’s sea shells or river stones, but you will be a tangible reminder of the sunshine and laughter and warmth on my face. When I start to feel the itch of my mask during period 3 or my hands crack from hand sanitizer or desk cleaner, I know I have put enough of you, dear, sweet summer, in our tanks to get us through the months where the sun doesn’t shine enough.

Yes, I’m anxious about the school days ahead. But we will wash our hands a lot, wear our masks, stay outside as much as possible, and remember, the sun will shine each season of the year and warmth comes in different ways. Here is to you, Summer. You were amazing. One of the best and weirdest, given how little we strayed from home.

The tomatoes are waning, the breezes are cooling, the river is downright chilly, but my daughter’s awesome 4th grade teacher just sent an email reminding kids to bring a lawn chair and sunblock. Summer, you haven’t left us quite yet, and thank you for the memories we were able to make this year. And for the mom I came across in the parking lot yesterday after mountain biking who was cursing her husband for locking them out of the car and openly crying, just know that will likely be me in a week or two– maybe even on Tuesday. Probably not cursing the husband out, although possible, but certainly crying openly about something as summer ends and the business and stress of returning to school returns widely and completely.

Friends, Parents, Children and Teachers far and wide: Here’s to an amazing school year– no matter what form your fall takes– full send like us, remote, hybrid, homeschool– we know more now than we did in March. Be safe out there. Wear masks and wash hands and don’t hang out with crowds of people. Seems easy enough in theory. Looking ahead to helping kids with college essays, playing soccer, picking apples, and eating squash in all its many autumnal recipes.

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