Summer Time!

Eileen Hopkins (Gramma Jamma)
Grandma’s Point of View

Summer time  – warm mud squishing up between your toes, icy water spraying from the hose, hotdogs and marshmallows eaten with dirty hands, mosquitoes always buzzing nearby and your mom, calling you home before the 9 PM siren sounded.  Yep, summer in the 1950`s when my only concern was if my friends would be home so we could play.

Summer in the 60`s meant we had wheels and could head to the lake for some sunbathing while we dreamt of summer romances.  It meant we could cruise up and down Main Street in small towns across the prairies, radios blaring, looking for action (although I can`t recall ever finding it!).  We stopped in the middle of the street to talk about nothing, squeezed six people into a 4-person booth and drank coke and ate fries and laughed at nothing.

Summer in the 70`s were often filled with weddings, halter tops and bell bottom pants, jeans and cutoffs – that first apartment, first job, first marriage ( we were the generation that pushed the divorce rate sky high!) and first child.  We pushed baby carriages or strapped them to our chests, wore our hair to our waist and sandals on our feet and many of us stayed home until the last one went to school.  We spent time at ball parks and soccer fields and handing out homemade popsicles or filling swimming pools or setting up banana slides and special whirly sprinklers to keep our kids entertained through the long summer days.  We patched up skinned knees from dirt biking accidents (many and I had all girls!) and hoped that the school bell would ring soon.

With the children grown and many away for their first jobs, our boomer lives changed in the 90′s.  We re-discovered ourselves, our careers, sometimes our partners and moved forward into summers of two-week vacations driving to see aging parents or adult children working summer jobs in the Okanagan.  For me, summer was a quiet time while my daughters spent time with their Dad in another province, when I cleaned out the Tupperware cupboard and smiled when it stayed that way for two months.  I stayed in the city to hang out at the park instead of rushing home to make dinner or drive kids to activities.  I took a deep breath and ate lots of popcorn suppers and found I missed the shoes piled in the entryway and the dirty dishes in the sink.

Now summer is a time to sit on the deck after work and enjoy a glass of wine with my partner or spend the day at a festival in a city park.  It is a time when children and grandchildren might visit and share some laughter around grilled food and homemade lemonade.  The boomer grandparent has to plan more for such events for they do not just happen anymore.  Families are spread out over many miles, kids are off to camp or involved in the neighborhood street hockey and less likely to clamber to go to grandmas.  So what can a grandma do?

Summer patio time has to include lots of ice cream and pop to make old fashioned sodas.  It helps if you have a  small sand box for the littlest – safer than a pool and so much messier!  Make sure there are lots of balls to encourage spontaneous basketball one-on-ones and old blocks of wood of all sizes to build towers and roads for the little trucks and cars you have stashed in the garage.  Some things I would like to try this summer:  a garage party with 60′s music, outdoor mural painting on heavy card stock to be displayed in the garage or on the patio in good weather, a harvest dinner when we can pull the vegetables and cook them along with the popular burgers (if we have any garden produce this year!) and just some good old fashioned lemonade sipping on the deck.  Nothing fancy, but everything a kid or grandma could want!  Bring on the summer!

This blog posting is not a form of psychological counselling, advice, therapy, or assessment and should not be used as such by any individual. This blog posting is provided only as an article intended to encourage thought and discourse. For specific psychology related services, please contact an appropriate healthcare provider.