How does summer influence you as a mother? You may try to recreate the wonderful experiences from your childhood with your own kids, such as camping in the quiet woods or chasing lightning bugs in the backyard. Maybe you struggle with summer and the pervasive lack of routine that seems to come with it. With July starting, we’re looking back at how Literary Mama contributors have thought about and reflected on summer.
The Summer of Broken Things | Creative Nonfiction July 2010 | Sarah Boykin Hardy
It is a summer of broken things. Lightning hits our house and zaps two phones, an answering machine, and a computer hard drive. Thieves throw a brick through the truck window and steal my briefcase. My father falls on a steep gravel driveway and fractures his ankle in three places. Maybe I should understand these signs, but all I see are the inconveniences and smaller worries of the moment. I don’t understand that these are hints, preludes, anterooms to a darker place. So it comes as a complete surprise when my mother is diagnosed in late July with stage four lung cancer.
A Summer’s Day: Mother to Child | Creative Nonfiction May 2008 | Maureen Sullivan Keleher
It is July, a year and a half since we buried Mom, and I’ve taken eight-month-old Sebastian on his first trip to Scituate. As much as one can infuse an eight month old, I want to infuse him with Scituate and with Mom. I want to feel summer, sand, and especially, her. When I put in a load of laundry–written in permanent black marker on the washer machine cover is Yale Elec. 6/2002: the last time the machine was serviced. I look around the rest of the garage and see how many things she, with her rough hands and chipping nails, was likely the last to touch. Those hands used to hang towels on the line in the back yard; used to organize and reorganize the garage; used to leave notes on the kitchen table when she was out. Those hands are imprinted on so many parts of this house.
Picnic in July | Poetry November 2006 | Paige Heim-Thompson
He watches for butterflies
as I puncture a hole
through the skin
of an orange
with my thumb.
Beneath his shirt,
imprinted on his belly —
the tip of an arrowhead
pointing toward his navel.
Summer Day | Poetry May 2017 | Daye Phillippo
When he refused to be born, when he stayed
curled and warm and huge inside, they
sent me from the hospital, said Go home and rest,
but I weeded the parched garden instead.
After a time, the boy’s father stepped outside,
suggested I might come in out of July’s brass
heat for a glass of water, at least, but I glared
until he had to shade his eyes, until he knew
the hundred-degree heat was pumped,
not from the just-past-solstice sun, but from me.
So he gave up, went inside to worry
from the dining room window, instead.
The birthing never ends.