I’m Jealous of Your Summer


This is the only time of year when following my friends’ Instagram photos becomes truly painful. That’s because so many of you are posting pictures of your toes as you sit poolside, your kids as they smile over melting popsicles, and your family as you enjoy any number of outdoor adventures under the summer sun.

That’s not what our summers are like in the Houston area.

Summers in Houston involve transforming our house into a two-story cave as we ward off the excessive sun and heat. Or panicking in the car as the A/C takes an excruciatingly long time to kick in and we’re left wondering exactly how to breathe. Or watching for and warding off the signs of dehydration and heat stroke if we do chance to venture outside to do, well…anything.

I had foolishly hoped to “get used to” the Houston summers. But I’ve had plenty of natives confess that 30+ years of living here has still not made them accustomed to the heat. It was 105 degrees here yesterday, for goodness sake! With incredibly high humidity and heat lightning strobing along the horizon. How do you get used to that?

It seems like a lifetime ago when we would open the door of our Oregon home and let the children out into a daily summer adventure. They were glad to go then, happy to ride bikes in the neighborhood, roam the neighborhood school’s playgroup, or build forts in our giant rhododendron bushes. We’d leave all the windows in the house open, and I could often hear their little voices rise and fall as they played. We didn’t have iPhones or Instagram then, but I can promise if we had, my photo stream would have been filled with the kind of fun summertime pictures I’m seeing from so many of my friends these days.

For me, summer used to be a time of rest, relaxation, being carefree and adventurous. It used to mean freedom and pleasure. Here in Houston, summer is menacing and oppressive, even sometimes dangerous. That’s a very difficult change to bear, each and every year. {And before you say “but your winters are fabulous!,” I’m of the crazy mind-set that winters ought to be cold. Christmas doesn’t feel like Christmas to me when it’s 80 degrees outside.}

As it is, we’ll just try to make the most of our fourth summer here, and our last.