Is it me or are people vacationing more than they used to? When I was a kid,we spent a week at a beach somewhere and we were lucky, lucky dogs, super privileged to be able to do that. Maybe it's the Facebook effect -- other people' vacations are not just mentioned in passing ala 1982 but hyper-documented -- all the minutia photographed and shared -- with every photo fomenting toxic envy. Maybe it's the fact that I live in a fancier neighborhood than my parents did when I was a kid, so my neighbors rally are taking off for two months at a time. Whatever the reason, it feels like everyone i know is spending all summer frolicking in dazzling turquoise oceans or jumping into serene lakes or eating ice cream in front of the Eiffel Tower/ Leaning Tower/ London Tower.
All of which is to say, I am experiencing a higher-than-usual dose of vacation envy. It doesn't help that at the start of this week, Brooklyn was approximately five hundred degrees, in the shade. I started to understand why people in the 80s used to wear sweatbands. What a helpful accessory.
It is summer in the city and it is hot and muggy and all the not-hot, not-muggy places are so incredibly unthinkably, nauseatingly overcrowded - Pier 6, anyone? Feel like having a nervous collapse today?
All the non-hot, not-muggy places which are NOT crowded are expensive, too expensive, as in "If I could afford this, I'd be ON VACATION AND NOT IN THIS CITY"
It gets a girl cranky. Clearly.
And then yesterday evening, at about 6pm, we were waiting for David to get home from work at my grandmother's house -- she'd made spaghetti ala carbonara for dinner -- and I said to Seconda, "I'll take you to shoot some hoops." We're not a hoop-shooting or ball-batting or goal-getting sort, as you may have gleaned but she likes to dribble and it was a lovely evening so why not?
Ten seconds after she started dribbling, a little girl named Charity who we didn't know came i to the courts with her dad and stepmom. The dad introduced himself and asked if Seconda wanted someone to play with. She sure did. So Charity and Seconda played b ball (the onus falling on Charity to do so, Seconda being mainly clueless) and the dad was rebound guy (which is, apparently a thing one does). I leaned on the fence and talked to Charity's stepmom, and we watched the dad give them shooting tips and the girls give each other high fives and we talked about having kids and living in New York and not having kids and living in Atlanta. The breeze was perfect and the sound of the ball hitting the pavement was a delightful metronome not the migraine-inducing cacophany it usually is. Then my grandmother called and said: "YOU BETTA GET HERE RIGHT NOW 'CAUSE DA PASTA'S GETTIN' COLD!" and I laughed and said, "OK"
As we walked back to my grandmother's apartment, I looked at my beautiful golden-haired kid in the beautiful golden light and I thought, "Summer in the city really isn't so bad."
Nicole is a parenting writer who contributes essays and articles for magazines like Parenting, Parents, American Baby and Babble. She lives in Brooklyn with three children, one husband and a morbidly obese goldfish.