Every parent at one time or another becomes that parent – the one with the hopelessly wailing baby on the international flight or the one with the toddler laying prostrate on the grocery store floor, fists beating and legs kicking violently in a tantrum to end all tantrums. I see these instances differently now, having been there enough times to be empathetic rather than judgmental. It takes one to know one, as the old adage goes. So when my 5-year-old screamed to be carried and pitched a loud, dramatic fit on a busy street in downtown DC when his wish was not granted, I knew I was yet again that parent.
We had taken in the 4th of July parade along Constitution Avenue, having stood for a few hours in DC’s thick summer swelter watching bands, floats and the occasional costumed dog march by. It was just a few blocks to our lunch destination, but my son had had it. As he plunked himself down on the sidewalk with tears streaming (a few feet from a panhandler, no less), I could feel bystanders turn to look at me.
How did we get to this place? Well, it’s no great mystery. Summer, though short and sweet, is a time of unmitigated excess. Too much sun. Too many treats. Too little sleep. Too many daylight hours to soak up. Too many celebrations. Too little down time. Too much to pack into a few fleeting weeks. And this is the result – a boy that literally can’t put one foot in front of the other much less form a sentence that isn’t punctuated by sobs. We had worn him down to the core and he was beginning to melt.
What I love about watermelon is that it’s the perfect antidote to all the over-summering we do. It cools. It hydrates. It treats without guilt. It soothes. And it’s only around for the short window in which we need respite from our hard summer living. Cherish the season and if you find yourself exhausted by it all, know you are not alone and revel in it for the minute in which its yours to exploit.