The summer always seems to end before it begins. Summertime in my mind lasts for about ten weeks, firmly between the end of the school year and the start of a new one. Go into the stores now, and school supplies already line the shelves! Talk about a drag for kids!
This year's summer Sundays are more constrained than usual, due mostly to the fact that (this year) the period of Jewish mourning known as the Three Weeks both begins and ends on a Sunday.Two of the Sundays are Fast Days, and a third is during the even more serious Nine Days. And our upcoming trip starts on a Sunday and ends two Sundays later (more on that in an upcoming post), so there go another three Sundays.
Oh, and those nice still warm Sundays in September? RaggedyDad will be in school all day for two of them, and one of them is the day before Erev Rosh Hashana.
Now that the kids are out of camp, I'm trying to do some summer things with them on my own, since I know our Sundays with RaggedyDad are so limited. Until I was five, on just about every day that the weather allowed it, my mother and I took the bus from Givatayim to the beach in Tel Aviv. So although I am a Very Pale Person, I also feel very much at home at the beach.
Beach air is great (unless someone's smoking near you - yuck), and the Coppertone smells exactly the same as it did when I was eight years old and on a bus to day camp.
Yesterday, we went to the beach in Far Rockaway. Going alone to the beach with three small children, while fun at times, well, I can't really recommend it to anyone sane.
Thankfully, everyone listened, and stayed close, and the baby barely ate any sand, and we sat within spitting distance of lifeguards. But as anyone who has been to the beach, or especially taken kids, it's not the beach time itself that is the challenge. It's the sandy, messy, disastrous clean-up. Despite it all, we had a great, great time. And -- there is no sleep like the sleep after time spent at the beach.
Although the summer is not quite waning yet, when July ends, it reminds me of the poem that ends Alice and Through the Looking Glass:
. . . Echoes fade and memories die
Autumn frosts have slain July
Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes
Children yet, the tale to hear
Eager eye and willing ear,
Lovingly shall nestle near.
In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by
Dreaming as the summers die:
Ever drifting down the stream --
Lingering in the golden gleam --
Life, what is it but a dream?