The Five Stages of Summer Grief

The Five Stages of Summer Grief


Every year around mid-May I start to get the same feeling I did when I was young. Summer is coming!! Summer is coming!!

Summer has always been a sun-kissed, dreamy time of beaches, lakes, boats, booze and making out with strangers on various docks. Nirvana!!

But now? Oh, my how the times they have a’ changed.

I suddenly remember that I don’t really get a summer anymore and I begin my annual “Stages of Summer Grief” process.

You see, now that I’m an exceptionally reluctant grown-up, a work day is a work day is a work day. Only the temperature in my office and the clothes I wear seem to change. But, my psyche still fucks with me and for a few brief moments, I imagine that the next 12 weeks or so will be a cavalcade of extreme fun and freedom.

Then those moments abruptly stop and the process begins.

1. Denial – This first stage is a doozy. It’s when I still feel a sense of optimism about this summer being different. Hey, it’s mid-May, I can lose 15 pounds and get a rock hard six-pack by June 1!! Sure I can!! Then I’ll go buy a little bikini just like the one I wore when I was 21. So what if I had twins! So did J. Lo and she can still rock it!

2. Anger – Now comes the rage. After two weeks of binge eating and goal-avoidance, it’s now end of June and not only did I gain 5 more pounds, I haven’t gone near any kind of bathing suit. Or mirror.

Yes, this one will do quite nicely, thank you.

Yes, this one will do quite nicely, thank you.

Along with this epic failure comes the end of school year blitzkrieg of potlucks, celebrations, after parties and parental guilt. I feel fortunate to have escaped with only one bout of food poisoning and an eye twitch.

And, now the kids are home and driving me to the brink of insanity.

“I’m bored!”

“I’m hungry!”

“Mommy, why are you drinking wine with breakfast?”

The good news here is that the eye twitch is really an effective addition to my look of maniacal rage that stops them in their tracks. Turns out they do have a survival instinct after all.

3. Bargaining – The idea of deal-making starts up right around the 4th of July holiday. What is more representative of the good ole’ summertime than bad food, fart-inducing beer and blowing a few fingers off with illegal explosives? All in the name of patriotism.

This is when I tell myself that the 4th is the REAL start of summer. So, all my previous June failings really don’t count, right? And, on the 5th of July, after the high-sodium hotdog and beer has left my body in whatever form God intended, THEN and only then will I REALLY start to prepare for my summer of amazing fun.

I will make summertime my bitch!!

4. Depression – With the first of August comes the realization that we are staring straight into the abyss of Fall. August is really the Sunday of summer. You want to enjoy it but Monday morning is looming.

All attempts to harness that sunny optimism, to join in numerous games of beach volleyball, to frolic carelessly in the surf have been reduced to middle-aged, tummy slimming bathing suits that are so tight you feel like any oxygen flow has, thankfully, been cut off to your head. Hey, at least it’s a buzz.

Get this woman a good waxing, stat!

Get this woman a good waxing, stat!

The kids are as ready to get back to school as you are to have them gone. The lethargy that comes with the dog days of summer has rendered you all a sweaty mess.

Ah, screw it!


Who cares!

5. Acceptance – The trigger for acceptance is receiving the supply list from school. It’s like watching the Western Union kid ride up to your house with eternally bad news.

Wipe that smile off your face you tiny harbinger of doom!

Wipe that smile off your face you tiny harbinger of doom!

Now it’s time to join the hordes of other frazzled parents (who also didn’t seem to have much of a summer) on the annual trek to Target for backpacks, pencils, T-squares and lunch boxes.

I’ve now accepted the fact that another summer has come and gone.  We are fast approaching Labor Day and the official end of summer.

Now there is a new excitement in the air.

Every year around late-August I start to get the same feeling I did when I was young. School is coming!! School is coming!!

19 Responses »

  1. This really speaks to me. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels this way about summer. I’m at the “stay in the air conditioning and drink mojitos all day” stage.

  2. WTH- how did you skip to August when I’m still doing the 30-Day-
    Shred hoping to get in bikini shape by the end of July??! F*** it, I’m having a beer.

  3. I spend most of summer in the denial phase. “This week, I’m going to start eating right, start working out and lose 30 pounds in a day so that I can take the kids to the pool without feeling like a beached whale…”
    For the last five years.

    Not ONCE has it worked.

    Instead, I load up on beer and margaritas while wearing jeans and a “flowy” top to hide my front butt.

    Good luck with your summer! Fall is right around the corner, which means that I can get back to the jackets that “hide” my awesomeness (aka: love of all things fattening and bad for me).

    • Yeah, I figure my front butt is a defense mechanism so my prey doesn’t know if I’m coming or going. Survival, baby!

  4. My summer grief usually starts around the first week of June. That’s when I go from “taxi/bus driver”, getting some free time, to “concierge/ cruise director” with zip free time.

  5. Top notch tuna pie indeed! Just glanced at your sidebar and saw “lady boner”. This is really something.

    Love the use and reuse of the eye twitch. Really got me. On the other hand I as mad as hell and just possibly might not take it any more about summers. I’m headed out to the pub;)

  6. Irene, this post is top notch and tuna pie (my husband’s saying for Freakin’ A Great!). Wow! If this doesn’t go viral, I don’t know what will. Happy Summer! I hope!

      • I just tweeted this, so I’m sure it will be around the world in just a short while. Or maybe only three people will see it, or maybe one. But, it could be THE right person – the perfect person who makes these things happen, the Queen of Connectivity! 🙂

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