I’m cutting back on calories because summer is here.
And, no, I’m not watching what I eat because I’m getting ready for swimsuit season. I avoid swimming pools. The reason I avoid swimming pools is because I also avoided chemistry.
In my mind, pools have always been large public bathtubs — with small children — and yet intelligent people actually put their heads underwater in large swimming pools. Other people, not me. I know there are chemicals that take care of germs and bacteria, but I just don’t understand chemistry well enough to trust it. Well, that and I’ve seen the massive amounts of chemicals dumped in pools and wonder why I’d want to swim in chemicals.
All of which takes me to the beach. (Oh, please, yes, take me to the beach! Preferably, a rocky coastline with cool temperatures.) There are no chemicals in the water at the coast and what small children do there is washed out to sea. I’m good with everything at the coast — the tides, the surf, the waves — everything except sharks, jellyfish and riptides.
But I’m not watching what I eat to get ready for the beach either.
I’m getting ready for cake.
Summer brings a crush of family birthdays — two in June, six in July and four in August.
By the end of summer, nearly all the grands will have rolled over to “new numbers.” It’s a very big deal, like when a car’s odometer rolls over to 100,000 or 200,000. Once they all change up to new numbers, the new line-up will be 9, 8, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, four-and-a-half months and four months. Our two new additions this spring threw our number run off a bit, but we’re keeping them anyway.
The only problem is that you don’t roll over to that many new numbers without working your way through a lot of birthday celebrations and a lot of cake. If I hit every family birthday from early June through the end of August, I could be eating cake every three days. That’s so much cake that, even on the off-cake days, I’d be too full to walk to the ‘fridge and make a salad.
Of course, nobody is forcing me to eat cake and ice cream at every birthday celebration, but children tend to notice if you’re not participating in the party. We are a family whose primary love language is food. To love is to eat, to eat is to be family.
We’ve tried streamlining all these celebrations by grouping two here and three there, or meeting up for a birthday donut somewhere. Even so, we often wind up in a party streamer, birthday hat, blowing out the candles, white sugar, carbohydrate sort of daze some weeks. You count the days you have to recover until the next celebration.
There’s no getting around it: summer means a lot of cake — no matter how you slice it.
Lori Borgman is a columnist, author and speaker. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.