I miss SUMMER, and it hasn't even started yet.

I miss SUMMER, and it hasn't even started yet.

Ah, summer. The mere word conjures up warm memories of carefree days stretching out before you like an endless beach. For me, growing up in New Jersey, those memories are especially vivid.

Elementary School Bliss:

Can you picture the scene? Straight out of the Sandlot, our days revolved around the community pool, a short walk from our house. Sun-drenched days were spent splashing around, punctuated by the occasional movie night or "Teenie Bopper Night" (remember those?). Evenings were for catching lightening bugs (yes, that's what we called them in Jersey!) with neighborhood friends until the streetlights flickered on. Life was simple, carefree, and filled with pure summer joy.

Pocono Paradise:

As we grew older, our summers took on a different flavor. Our family bought a house in the Poconos, by beautiful Big Bass Lake (think Dirty Dancing!). It was a summer haven where Mom was a stay-at-home mom, and my stepdad made the midweek commute back to New Jersey. Swimming, tennis, and afternoons spent playing Ms. Pac-Man were the daytime activities. At night, we'd hang out with kids from the tri-state area, attending occasional bingo nights or preteen/teen dances. Sure, there were a few scrapes with trouble, as any kids would have, but those summers hold cherished memories of friendships forged and endless fun.

High School Hustle (and Heartthrobs):

High school summers introduced the world of work, but that didn't diminish their magic. Scooping ice cream at Dairy Queen and lifeguarding at the familiar community pool barely felt like jobs. Working alongside friends undoubtedly made them even more enjoyable. Add in dates with my high school boyfriend, cheer camp & practices, and lazy summer weekends, and you've got a recipe for some of my most treasured memories.

College Summers and Meter Madness:

College summers were dedicated to a full-time job reading meters for a utility company. It was a team of five college students filling in for vacationing meter readers. Being the only girl, it wasn't always easy, but the days spent outdoors under the (mostly) pleasant New Jersey summer sun made it worthwhile. There were dog bites, a basement incident (don't ask!), and countless stories from those meter-reading adventures. But the highlight of those summers was spending time at the Jersey Shore, particularly one unforgettable summer in Belmar. Every Friday, my friend Stefanie and I would drive down to the beach house we shared with other friends, returning on Sundays. The Jersey Shore of the 90s, well, it lived up to the hype. It was pure summer magic!

Baseball and Beyond:

After college, I landed a dream job in Minor League Baseball. Sure, it meant long hours and low pay, but I wouldn't trade that experience for anything. There's a certain charm to sitting in an empty stadium before the gates open, watching batting practice as classic summer anthems like "Centerfield" and "Glory Days" blare over the PA system. The job wasn't all sunshine and roses; pulling the tarp was no picnic. Still, those summers were filled with an undeniable excitement surrounding the sport itself. Many summers followed, filled with watching baseball games across the US, Japan, and Korea. My daughter has likely seen more stadiums than most adults! There was even that one incredible October… but that's a story for another day.

Family Fun and Jersey Shore Traditions:

As my children grew, summers revolved around our backyard pool, filled with laughter and splashes when they weren't at gymnastics or cheer practice. Weekend BBQs, Sunday Funday traditions, and the annual pilgrimage to my sister's beach house in New Jersey added to the summer symphony. I truly believe that's where my kids are creating their own core summer memories. The Jersey Shore boardwalk feels like a place where time stands still – still the same as when I was young. Sharing the fun and iconic boardwalk food with my kids gives them a glimpse into my own childhood summers.

The Sweet Scent of Nostalgia:

2020 changed everything for many, myself included. Gone were the days of working from home and setting my own schedule. Instead, I found myself launching Sunset Scents, a new company. Long, hot days were spent in a sweltering Arizona garage pouring candles. Starting Sunset Scents has been a challenging journey, like a full-time job with more stress, kids, and a husband thrown into the mix. The past few summers have been different, with far fewer carefree pool days and Jersey Shore trips. It's made me truly appreciate those incredible summers from the past.

The 50th Summer and a Look Forward:

Arizona's got summer on fast-forward this year! School's out, the thermometer's hitting a sizzling 110 degrees, and the high school calendar says they're back in session by August 1st. It makes me miss those carefree days of yore, where school breaks stretched all the way to Labor Day. Remember those epic Labor Day events at Big Bass Lake, Clark Pool, and the baseball stadiums? They were like the official farewell to summer and a warm hello to fall.

Speaking of hot, just wait until August 1st rolls around. It'll probably be even toastier than today! (Though, let's be honest, Arizona summers are champions of heat.)

Sure, summer as an adult isn't quite the same endless playground it was as a kid. But that doesn't mean there's no magic left. There's something special about watching your own kids create their summer memories, splashing in the pool or exploring their newfound independence.

Maybe adulthood steals a bit of summer's carefree spirit, but the warmth and joy of the season stay with you. Here's to cherishing those sun-kissed memories, no matter your age!



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