I had already graduated from college the first time I celebrated Summer Solstice. I was clueless as to what it was all about. But I jumped in a car with all my friends and drove to Santa Barbara. I remember that gorgeous day morphed into a super fun night. But I still didn’t understand what the celebration was all about. Many years later with one kid under my belt and maybe even another on the way, I was asked to celebrate the Summer Solstice. I was expecting a PARTY but I got an education on what the day meant and a whole lot of kumbaya instead. Which was fine by me because doing a keg stand pregnant would’ve been tough. Some traditionalists would argue that May 1st is the first day of summer but living in MN, there could be snow on that day so I opt to hold out until June 20-22 when it’s pretty safe to put away the snow pants.
Summer Solstice reminds me that my family’s summer traditions have already begun! My kids got out of school on May 31st so technically, I was supposed to start our summer timeline on June 1st. Well that didn’t happen because I was out of town with my daughter on that date. And I never caught up because, well…life got in the way. This year my annual tradition of documenting their summer vacation is just going to have to start with the first day of summer. If I can remember what we’ve done since school has been out, I’ll write it down. However, I am just going to take the pressure off and start the timeline today. Breathe. Traditions can be flexible. Case and point: see last year’s time line; it was not in this location the year before.
One of our family’s summer traditions is the Father’s Day 5K run that Vikings player Chad Greenway hosts. This year marks the 10th year in a row for this event. My hub started running in this 5K when my daughter was 1.5 yrs old - pushing her in a stroller. After the run, we continued the tradition of hosting a brunch at our home with my Father-in-Law who visits us from Encinitas every year for Father’s Day.
We kicked off tonight with some homemade Thai spring rolls, noodles with peanut sauce, mangoes with sticky coconut rice and my son added Whoopie Pies to fit the theme of our menu. As a thoughtful pinch, my neighbor hosted a dinner outside to celebrate another neighbor who is leaving for a long adventure carrying a 70+ pound backpack and camping until the second week of August. The celebrant is a special gal who overcame some major hurdles so this camp is a gift to herself before she heads to college in the Fall. Coincidentally, tonight’s outdoor neighborhood dinner fell on Summer Solstice which celebrates “the growth of light and outward bound energy”. Fun fact: Historically, during summer festivals, people used to host “give-aways” or Potlach giving away, sharing and distributing the surplus of food to the village. Hence the term Potluck. Imagine, back then wealth was shown by how much surplus food you gave away. When the white man settled here they brought capitalism therefore changing the value of wealth to all that you kept instead of all that you gave away.
Long gone are the Summer Solstice celebrations when I could go to a parade all day long, do keg stands, dance all night to our DJ friend’s musical choices and run around Santa Barbara without a care in the world. Although I’m so glad that I had those days, I’m even more glad that I have a family and traditions that we celebrate together in the Summer. Next year, I’ll show them that Mama can still do a keg stand.