The bright

Nora wasn't too happy about the rain, but she cheered up when she got to hold an umbrella.
Nora wasn't too happy about the rain, but she cheered up when she got to hold an umbrella. Stacy Chandler

I suspect I'm in the minority here, but I love summer.


I love the heat (especially at night -- drinking a cold beer on the back porch on a sweltering night, maybe a little heat lightning in the distance, is my idea of perfection), I love the storms, I even find the humidity kind of cozy (but only in small doses, admittedly).


But no one in my household is on my side. My husband complains constantly of being hot and kicks all the blankets off the bed each night. The dog sets up camp either on the kitchen's linoleum floor or the six square feet of parquet by the front door, directly under an air conditioning vent, and pants the day away. Nora? Well, I guess no toddlers are known for suffering in silence.


It's not really the heat that gets her. It's not even the humidity. What really sets my 3-year-old off is "the bright." When sunlight streams through the car window, always getting right around the shade we have on the window by the car seat, Nora squeezes her eyes shut, turns her head away and yells "NO! GO AWAY, BRIGHT! I DON'T LIKE THE BRIGHT!" I've tried explaining that "the bright" makes the flowers grow and keeps us warm and basically prevents the Earth from being a frozen, lifeless rock floating aimlessly through space, but she is not moved.


But if there's one thing she likes even less than the bright, it's the rain. Oh man, she hates the rain. Even if we're inside the house, the second she hears summer's big fat raindrops hit the skylights in our living room, she is mad.


"NO, rain!" she'll command, thrusting both hands toward the skylights or nearest window. "GO AWAY, RAIN!" And then, usually, there are tears. Summer's big fat tears of outrage over water falling from the sky. And if, God forbid, drops of rain should actually fall on her while we're walking the dog or exiting a store to walk to the car? White-hot rage. Marked by tears.


Explanation don't seem to assuage her, so our newest tactic is accessorizing the rage. To combat the bright, we offer her a hat. She'll sometimes wear her one of her own hats, Hello Kitty, perhaps, or a pink sunhat with a yellow bow. But her preference is her dad's fedora, which swallows her whole head, thus granting blessed darkness. And probably a pretty strong sweat stink, but whatever. For rain, when there's time, we hand her an umbrella. And wouldn't you know it? As soon as she has an open umbrella and the ability to swing it around unfettered, she forgets all about screaming at the rain and starts to smile. Like the sun coming out from behind a stormcloud. But not TOO brightly.