Raising Richmond: H.A.G.S.

Making the most of those lazy-hazy-crazy days of summer…

It’s not technically summer yet. It’s not even meteorological summer (June 1st). But summer has already started in my household because WE JOINED A (gym that has an outdoor) POOL!

Joining a pool has been a nice idea for awhile, but I was always discouraged by how much summer pool memberships cost. There isn’t much value there for us, especially since we’d just be weekend and occasional weeknight users. And then I’d feel pressure about needing to go every weekend to get our money’s worth. Then our daughter took swim lessons at a gym with the aforementioned outdoor pool. The gym’s annual fees equal what just a summer at a pool costs, and we pay monthly, so it’s not a big financial hit.

It’s a big, middle class dream come true. I want to walk up to strangers and face-palm them while shouting “POOL!” because I’m now a better person than non-pool people. OK, not true. I’m still excited though. When I was a kid we went to a neighborhood pool, and it was awesome. I spent three summers eating ice pops, having contests to see who can jump out of the water like Ariel from The Little Mermaid the best, and attempting to stay underwater for the length of a Michael Bolton song as it played overhead on the radio.

I don’t know if pool life now can top pool life then. Pool time now will be mostly having a small child cling to me and worrying about someone else’s sunscreen application. It will still be lots of fun, and hopefully end with my daughter having some swimming skills and no sunburns. One of our best friend families1 goes to the pool, too, so the whole deal comes with built-in hanging out time.

But what to do with the rest of the summer? Summer is a funny season because we have the same work and daycare schedules with no additional time to do anything, but it still seems different. It can be panic-inducing because it feels like the summer is over before it begins when it has to be doled out on the weekends. But then the evenings are longer and no one remembers when bedtime is supposed to be on Fridays and Saturdays.2 That helps.

We’re going to try to squeeze in all the summer we can: river visits, outdoor dinners with friends, trips to the Children’s Garden at Lewis Ginter, ice cream making and eating, vacations to San Francisco and the beach, Flying Squirrels’ games and Nutzy stalking, and eating my weight in watermelon every week. Plus there are one million things going on in Richmond each weekend.

If all of that doesn’t happen then I just need to make sure I do one important thing: not worry about it. I am the only one in my little family who overthinks these things, so I don’t need to feel pressure to make it the best summer ever. So what if I don’t make ice cream or go to King’s Dominion or watch a movie outside, or can never get to my backyard because mosquitoes will carry me off? And so what if our daughter gets frightened of the filters in the pool and refuses to go back in the water and wants to go home and says she doesn’t want to come back the next day?3

I’ll take each weekend as it comes. They all end up being pretty great, regardless of the season. Our daughter is more excited about eating a popsicle on the porch than about anything else we could do, so just keeping it simple is the best summer plan I can make.

  1. I just made this term up, but it means that friends of my husband and me have kids who are friends with our kid. 
  2. Naptime never changes. As long as we have it, I will take the best care of that sacred time. 
  3. Just a recap of our first time at the new pool this past weekend. 
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Kelly Gerow

Kelly Gerow lives and writes in Richmond. She probably does other stuff in Richmond, too.

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