How do I explain what summer is to my daughter?

Sand with water in the distance

It recently occurred to me that I’m going to have to explain what summer is to the Popple someday.

If you’re thinking, “But don’t you have summer in Scotland?”, you have clearly never been to Glasgow in July. My heat has been on for most of the month. I wear woolly socks every evening. The sun disappeared for two weeks, and when it returned it was blowy as hell so it still felt kind of cold.

This is what the Popple is going to think summer is like.

And, to be fair, Scottish summer IS a version of summer. It’s just not my version of summer. My summer is a Long Island summer circa 1982-2000. These summers lasted from the end of May until mid-September. They were consistently warm and sunny. They smelled like sunblock and freshly cut grass and never required the use of a waterproof jacket.

The Popple isn’t going to know what it’s like to be hot, sometimes stupidly so, for months on end. She will never have to lay all of her shorts next to each other to see which pair is the shortest, because it’s too hot to have even an extra half inch of fabric touching your body. She will never sweat under a ceiling fan at night or know the joy of sticking your head in the freezer, especially if it’s to look for a Fla-Vor-Ice.

(Fla-Vor-Ices are popsicles that you eat out of a plastic tube. They come in neon colours and the best flavour is blue, if you’re a child. If you’re an adult, you recognise that all Fla-Vor-Ices are equally disgusting.)

She’ll never have to spend the last month of school making sure that she’s secured a friend with a pool, preferably an underground one. She won’t spend entire days in the pool because it’s too hot to get out, so her fingers get all pruny and her eyes sting from the chlorine. She won’t have underwater tea parties or do cannonballs off the diving board. She won’t know the joy of a nighttime swim on a hot evening, or the horror of stepping on a slug with your bare foot after said swim.

She won’t know how much fun it can be to go to a water park, where you can be in your wet bathing suit all day yet somehow never feel cold. She won’t race her friends down the slides or pee in the wave pool (because, let’s face it – everyone pees in the wave pool). She won’t end the day with Dippin’ Dots, that weird snack made from flash freezing ice cream in liquid nitrogen.

Colourful Dippin' Dots in a plastic cup

She won’t know what it’s like to live within a few miles of the beach. She won’t eat sandwiches that are crunchy with sand and drink Capri Sun while staring at Connecticut in the distance. She won’t watch her toes disappear beneath murky water, or throw seaweed at her friends because it makes a good noise when it sticks. She won’t draw on her friends’ backs in sunscreen while they sunbathe so they wake up with rude-looking sunburns on their skin. She definitely won’t do that.

Her summers will be filled with other things. Humid, wet air. Grey skies. Midges. 99 Flakes. Barbecues under brollies. Days when the sun doesn’t set until 10pm. An overwhelming appreciation for those rare sunny days, because you don’t know when the next one is coming.

(But she’ll moan about the heat. We complain that there’s no sun in Scotland, and then when it does come out we’re like, “Ugh, stop shining so hard.” It’s kind of our thing.)

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23 Comment

  1. Your childhood summers sound idyllic. I am sure I remember my own childhood summers being better than what we get now. I’m sure I played in the garden every day. I probably didn’t, it probably pissed it down just as much as it does now!! #twinklytuesday

    1. Squirmy Popple says: Reply

      I swear it never rained in summer when I was a child. I’m sure that can’t be true, but I don’t remember it being wet.

  2. I’m super jealous! Your childhood summers sound amazing! Hopefully Scotland will prove better in other ways 🙂

    1. Squirmy Popple says: Reply

      I love Scotland loads, but Scottish summers leave a lot to be desired. Bring on autumn – Scotland does that really well. 🙂

  3. I’m struggling to explain summer too. He’ll ask why it’s cold or raining when it’s supposed to be summer! x #TwinklyTuesday

    1. Squirmy Popple says: Reply

      Ha! Yeah, with the exception of a few lovely weeks, Scotland hasn’t been much different from spring. Or autumn.

  4. Ahh this is lovely, I felt like I was right back with you in your childhood (even though I didn’t get all of the references!) I think I should probably move to Scotland because (whispers) I don’t really like summer. Actually that’s not entirely true, I love going to the beach and camping and barbecues and picnics in parks where there is shade. I don’t love having to wear sun lotion and insect repellent all the time, still getting bitten, having to actually work or run errands and clean when I am sweating my tits off and not being able to sleep because it’s too hot. Basically if I could be on holiday all the time I would like summer infinitely more!!! #DreamTeam

    1. Squirmy Popple says: Reply

      Ooh, if you don’t like summer, you’d love a Scottish summer! You rarely need sunscreen, that’s for sure. Personally, I think Scotland does autumn much better – it’s beautiful with all of the leaves changing colour.

  5. Oh and if my house had air con, obviously, that would be a whole different ball game!

    1. Squirmy Popple says: Reply

      Oh yeah, air con would make a huge difference! We didn’t have it when I was a kid and summer nights were awful – it got much better after my parents got it installed.

  6. Perfect! I’m totally learning while getting entertained reading this. 🙂

  7. I love this post – your summers sound amazing! Ah to have a pool, and to need to have a pool too 🙂 The Popple’s summers will certainly be different but they will be special all the same. Even in Brighton we tend to complain about the weather and hang on to a sunny day…thanks for linking up your great post to the #dreamteam xx

  8. Your childhood summers do sound blissful and I can imagine just how different Scottish summers must be after growing up with that! It’s funny how we moan about “not getting a summer” because it is raining so often and then the minute it’s a hot sunny day, we then moan about it being too hot! I have to admit though, I’ve been appreciating it this year rather than complaining. The Popple’s summers may not be like the ones you enjoyed, but they will be full of magic and memories in just the same way yours were. My childhood summers were all English ones complete with rain and the odd hot day here and there and I still remember them all as being amazing. #ablogginggoodtime

  9. I need to move to Long Island! Those summers sound amazing! Personally I think you need to move! I mean seriously who can live without summer? I struggle in the south and we get better summers than that 😉
    The Popple will also love her summer holidays abroad and not screw her nose up when she is bounding across the hills in her boots and mac though, so some bonuses. x #triballove #abloggingoodtime

  10. Haha and there I was thinking that our English summers were terrible! I’ll keep schtum from now on! Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub lovely xx

  11. What a lovely post. I have visited Long Island once, but my main memories of New England are of a very happy few days near Cape Cod where we stayed in a guest house on a sort of river beach. It was wonderful and you write so fondly of it.

    xAlice
    #ablogginggoodtime

  12. You’re experiences and childhood memories sound as like they belong in a book. I don’t know that kind of summer. Made me want to sit under a palm tree with a nice ice lolly and a good book, very summery now – even if I do have bed socks and a dressing gown on, with my heating on too. Thanks for a lovely post #coolmumclub

  13. As someone who lives in a place with very defined and all four seasons I would have never thought about this. While summers are wonderful things the heat can get to be a bit much sometimes. #coolmumclub

  14. Jade The Parenting Jungle says: Reply

    You descriptions are so captivating I can see what you are describing so clearly in my head. I love popsicles…The English version…blue are the best too and they are made solely from food colouring and water…Popple may not know Summer as you did but she will know all the beauty of Scotland, its traditions, the lyrical way people speak…her Summers will be as magical as yours just different xx Thank you for linking to #ablogginggoodtime

  15. Its definate to say that she will have fun though, yes its different but it is till summer. Not bad. I am often in a jumber and under a blanket in the sunny weather, it’s never too warm for a blanket! #ablogginggoodtime

  16. I totally understand! Although we do get 2-3 hot days a year in London, it’s nothing compared to the 3 months with 40 degrees summers I had back home… But that’s what holidays are for :P. After 3 years in the UK I don’t handle heat very well anymore, but 10 days on a beach somewhere nice, I’ll do my best 🙂
    #ablogginggoodtime

  17. Ohhh your summers sounded lush although I know I couldn’t take that heat! Maybe don’t explain how awesome your ones were else she’ll want you to move back there! Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

  18. I have this feeling but with winter! I actually hate summer and heat, so I am more than happy any year that it gets skipped. However, I now live on the south coast so most years there is no snow at all & my kids have yet to see any. But I grew up in the north & we had some snow every winter when I was little, so every winter I am sad that the kids don’t see a ‘proper’ winter. #coolmumclub

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