Mid-to-late June is my favorite time of summer. It’s usually not too hot yet, or if it roasts for a day or two the heat will eventually break and you’ll have a stretch of pleasant days mixed in. The rhythms of the summer are still developing and the season holds seeming endless promise.

At least that’s what it felt like to me as a kid, and I’ve never really lost that sensation. It sure helps that my life has revolved around my daughters’ schedules for nearly 17 years, so summer still feels like it did to me 40 years ago. I’m guessing those of you who spend your lives in offices and meetings and traveling (when allowed) have developed more mature feelings for the warmest months of the year.

Last week the girls watched two of their cousins. Daycare was shut down for a week because of vacations and M and L were recruited to watch a five-year-old and a 18-month-old. Which meant I ended up helping out a lot. When there was complaining about diaper changes, I reminded them that they were getting paid to do it and I wasn’t, so they needed to stop whining and get their poor nephew out of his soiled Pampers.

They did a pretty good job. They mostly had the mornings on their own. When I got back from dropping C at summer school, I would get the kitchen cleaned up or run a few errands before I had to return to CHS to grab C again. In the afternoons I was a little more involved. A couple days the rain held off and we were able to open the pool. I took over getting the younger one down for a nap, which meant I often got to close my eyes for a little while. It’s nice to have a doctor’s excuse that napping is ok for my minor medical issues if anyone gives me side eye about drifting off for a bit in the afternoon.

It was a fun week. The boys were good and the girls enjoyed taking care of them. We are especially happy that the younger nephew has finally warmed up to us. Because of Covid, he wasn’t around us nearly as much as his older brother during the first year of his life. So it has taken young K a long, long time to realize we are family and he should relax around us. In the last couple months he’s finally started proactively interacting with us instead of sitting and watching us with a look of mistrust on his face.

He’s also super affectionate and loves giving hugs. We laughed every afternoon when, after his nap and a snack and time to fully wake up, he would go through a stretch where he would walk around and give everyone hugs. After we got basic hugs, he would start smothering his big brother. It would start with a hug and some pats on the back. Then the hugs would get bigger. Eventually he would crawl right up on his brother’s lap, snuggle into him, wrap his arms around and give squeezes. His brother would calmly pat him back while he kept his focus on the TV. Little K would do this for 5–10 minutes at a time, and it always made us all laugh like crazy.

C is over two-thirds of the way through summer school. She’s taking gym so it’s been pretty easy. The biggest struggle, other than the heat last week, has been the cicadas. The CHS campus was absolutely overwhelmed with Brood X bugs. They would swarm around the kids while they were running on the track. They pelted anyone who walked near a tree. One kid in C’s class would throw his water bottle at trees and stir the thousands of them that were resting on its branches. Twice last week C got in the car with one stuck to her clothes.

We lucked out around our house, at least so far, and have only heard a few of the Brood X cicadas. That whole area over by school was just overrun by them. You can hear them with your car windows up and music cranked. As you drive they dive-bomb your windshield, leaving nasty messes when they splatted. On the interstate in that part of the city, the road looks like we had just had a brief hail storm because of all the cicada carcasses that were bouncing around on the tarmac.

I love annual cicadas, but I’m not sad that our neighborhood seems to be somewhat immune to Brood X. It seems like they might be tapering off this week, so we could be on the backside of their brief visit before their children set their clocks to return in 17 years.

We had encouraged C to run cross country as a freshman, partially for a fall activity and partially as a way to get to know more people before fall classes begin. But C wasn’t interested and said she would wait for spring to run track.

A few of her best friends decided to start running XC, though, and that changed her mind. We got all her paperwork in order Monday and this morning we both set alarms for 5:40 so she could get up and get ready in time to make 6:30 practice. She said it went well, but it had to have helped that it was only in the low 60s and breezy when she ran. She was smart to avoid last week. I’m sure the heat will catch up with her if she keeps running through July.