Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.
I’m not so sure about Nat King Cole’s take..he can keep the soda and pretzels. A cold beer never goes amiss though.
Summer is here officially. The calendar has told us so, even if the sun and the sticky heat which comes with it, has been with us for a while.
Apart from a well earned cool, crisp brew on a warm evening and summery Christmas treats, there is a whole lot else to look forward to. Here, the garden is cranking. A little effort will hopefully bring a great deal of reward. So much easier up here in the sunny and warm North, our veggie growing season well advanced on what we are used to down South. Even though water restrictions have kicked in already!
The other side of the coin is some of the extra care required, now the longer, hotter days are upon us. Especially for our blonde, blue-eyed, fair kiddies.
Already they are kissed by the rays of the sun, browner than I have ever seen them, particularly for this early in December. So that means reinforcing the good old mantra Slip, Slop Slap.
Getting girls to slip on a shirt is easy enough, as long as you keep it fashionable. Hardly princesses anymore, they still know what they like. So nothing daggy, even if practicality is the priority.
Slapping on a hat isn’t a part of the fashion equation unfortunately. Even if their Mother is lucky enough to track down something the girls think is cool, getting them to actually put it on their heads is a different story. The same goes for sunscreen.
Slopping on sunscreen is a necessity in this part of the word. Simply, you have to do it and then do it again and a little while later, do it again.
One and Two are useless at it. The E-Bomb and Wee-Man are supervised and therefore it gets applied, whether they like it or not. Luckily getting smeared in the stuff is still a novelty to them, so no arguments there. In fact, the Wee-Man is an awesome volunteer.
He is the one setting the summer sun smart example. He will put his hat on, his sunscreen and wears a sensible top to keep the burning rays at bay. E-Bomb might put up a fight every now and then when it comes to her attire but generally we are on a winner with her too. It is One and Two proving themselves dumb and dumber.
Maybe they are too cool to be seen being sun smart. Maybe they are preoccupied. Obviously they need urging and reminding, the behaviour to become a habit. It is a lot to ask of a teacher, who probably has enough on their plate at any given time during the school day. But at what age does self responsibility really kick in?
The same question pops up when you think of all the wonderful summer holiday experiences the Hokianga and Far North has to offer. Mostly, especially if this heat keeps up, in and on the water.
Number One is a confident swimmer and loves it. Number Two is capable but lacks the confidence, a work in progress. The two little ‘uns are strictly learners, but if you plonk them down on the beach and don’t get to them quick enough, you better have bought a dry change for them.
The thing is, you can’t have eyes on all of them, all of the time. When the wife and are a together, and we are a whole crew, no worries. We divvie up who is doing what with whom and it all works. More or less. How easy I make it sound.
Despite their confidence, their undoubted abilities and our own faith in our kids as sensible, intelligent, brave and able, the barriers can’t come down too far, just because the sun is shining and everyone is relaxed and happy.
I want to let the kids lose. I have rose tinted memories, of wading out,O way passed my depth. I’m still here.
Roaming the sand-hills, digging forts and tunnels, that by all rights should have collapsed. I’m still here.
Climbing the cliffs behind Seconds Beach, leaping into the surf and swimming all the way back. I’m still here.
Bikes without helmets, jungle gyms made of galvanized steel on the concrete, trees I could get up and struggled to get down, hills too steep for the brakes on my bike to be able to arrest my momentum. Poha’s and Tom Thumbs and slingshots and BB guns and withering gazes from a watchful Mum and I’m still here.
We have spent years putting boundaries in place. We are blessed with kids that push and test the settings no real harm will come from if there is a bend, or a break, in the rules. Riding the outgoing tide on the Hokianga might not be the best time to test the limits set in place by parents.
Our little crew will wear their helmets, their sunscreen, their life-jackets and all the rest of it, whatever is required. So that they can do whatever they are doing safely.
So Mum and Dad can relax with a cold one of choice.
Bring on the summer sun and fun!