Marlene Hauser

Bright fish and a turtle in the Maldives sea

On Summer Time

Hi Everyone,

June? How can it be? I was trying to hold back April and then May rolled in, and of course the garden? Well, that just keeps rolling right along, regardless. Yes, it is bursting with all things green and a variety of roses (some unknown to me), as well as free-seeded flowers in yellow, pink and purple. Bees, birds, slugs, squirrels and my Bengal are thriving: yes, it is summertime.

A niece recently posted a cheery picture of her little one with mention of how fast time flies. Wasn’t he just born? I think of my son and how truly fast time has flown. Prompted by my niece’s post I recalled when my son was a wee one and how I looked forward to an endless summer, but then I learnt that the infinite summer was his, not mine.

One of the first truisms of motherhood (maybe one of the first rude awakenings) is the fact that it doesn’t last forever. Summer, that is. The summer you had as a kid is not the summer your kid will have. You as the adult will have 93.6 days if you happen to live in the Northern Hemisphere, and 89 days if you live in the Southern Hemisphere. Don’t ask. Just Google it. He or she, your child, will have forever, or so it seems.

So roughly three months, but who counted back then—ninety days seemed an eternity. When I was a kid summer did stretch forever and it was a bit like watching the grass grow, which I did occasionally, along with attempting to whistle with a blade of it sandwiched between my thumbs. (Never worked.) The echo of play, shouts and cries, at the park swimming pool seemed woven right into the very fabric of eternity. Forever. I can still hear it. Timeless.

So what happened? Simple mathematics, as it was explained to me. At one year old, three months is 25% of your life so far; at 80 (the average lifespan in the UK), or 960 months, summer is 0.3125% of your life—practically a nanosecond. Slide that forward or backward dependent on age, but no matter how you cut the pie: time is short. That summer you had at 5 or 6 or 12, even 16 going on 21, will never again be the same—as long.

That is why I loved summer (and still do) with my son. Once, sliding hand in hand (goggles and flippers on) from the back of a catamaran into the sea off Maui in the Hawaiian Islands to swim with (but not touch) the turtles and other living sea creatures, his small fingers grazed mine. We both recognised and shared the beauty of that moment with the light breaking in all directions, the underwater push pull of an incessant tide, and of course the curious turtles and iridescent fish. But I also caught a glimpse again of eternity, my childhood in his childhood, when summer did stand still.

So hurrah for babies and the parents who have them, and of course Eternity. Happy June to one and all.


Photo by Grafner | iStock