A Chicago dad’s summertime commandments

This week’s blog post is by The Paternity Test co-host Matt Boresi, who lives in the Edgewater Glen neighborhood of Chicago with his wife (“Professor Foster”) and their 6-year-old daughter, Viva.

I’m told summer is coming. It is May 15 and still occasionally winter, so I’m not entirely convinced, but the oddsmakers say there will be something resembling a summer this year. Regardless of whether we have sun, rain, snow or lava (Don’t laugh — have you seen Hawaii?), school will in fact let out soon, work dress codes and Friday schedules will loosen up, and bratwursts will be consumed. You’re probably not prepared for it yet. Who is? Your t-shirts and shorts are packed away, there aren’t IPAs in the fridge, and God only knows where the sidewalk chalk went — but it’s time. Lest you get too relaxed, you know what else is coming? Fall. Right after the short, glorious summer comes stupid, earth-toned, nutmeg-scented fall, so unless you want to fall asleep during a May storm and wake up purchasing glue sticks for school, you’d better get on top of summer fun. To paraphrase Ferris Bueller, “[Summer] moves pretty fast — if you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”

I’ll let you tend to your own specifics, and this website is a great place to fill in just what you’ll be doing for the next three months, but you’re going to need some guidelines to get you through. I brought the following seven summer commandments down from the mountain for you, three and a half per tablet, just in time to stop Edward G. Robinson from building a golden pumpkin in honor of a much crummier season.

Thou Shalt Not Diet

You have all winter to torture yourself with kale smoothies and to feed your children organic smoothies and tomatoes from BPA-free cardboard cartons. Summer is for our Byzantine dressing of encased meats, our legendary microbrews and five gallon pails of ice cream. Head to the Taste, to Burger Fest, to Hot Dog Fest, and don’t hold back.

Thou Shall Burn the Extra Calories Through Harder Play

“But Summer is supposed to be the time we DON’T pack on weight!” Well, there’s an offset — wherever you go this summer, leave the fold up chaise in the CR-V and swim more, run more, do as many pull ups as humanly possible on the playground, climb and dance. That’ll give you more wiggle room for another waffle cone.

Thou Shall Plan

There are multiple festivals every weekend, and they don’t get on your calendar themselves. Don’t realize on Labor Day that you didn’t go to Ravinia, Comiskey, the zoo, or see any fireworks. Write and program your wish list into your phone now, or you’ll just putter around your yard and check your phone and then realize it’s Bears weather again.

Thou Shalt Not Stick to the Plan

That having been said, it’s your summer. On Friday, look at how many concerts, games and beach parties you’d planned for the weekend, and then only go to as many as leave you relaxed. Stay too long at one and skip the next. If you’re stressing about your weekend plan, you’re doing it wrong.

Thou Shall Put Your Phone Down From Time to Time

Trump is going to ruin the world whether you notice it on Twitter or not. Yes, you need your phone to take pictures of the picnics and the bike rides and the water fight, but then it goes back in the bag with the sunscreen and the bug spray.

Bedtime Shall Be But a Guideline

Take advantage of the long days and the lack of school. If the bonfire is still crackling, maybe your carry the children back to the car asleep in your arms, and deal with the fallout later. 

Thou Shall Listen to (and Watch) Music

You know how you know you’re old? You go about three days and realize you haven’t listened to a song. Don’t spend the whole summer with the windows rolled up listening to Malcolm Gladwell. Bust out your old summertime jams and find some new ones. Have your heard Greta Van Fleet yet? They sound just like Zeppelin. Have your heard Janelle Monae’s new one? Sounds like Prince. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are the Aragon THIS MONTH if you can find a sitter. Plan your music festivals and set up some playlists before you’re listening to Christmas carols again.

There, do you feel chided yet? Because I’m chiding you. Summer is about to race past you. Get out in front of it, and I’ll see you at Chicago Parent’s Kids Eat Chicago at the Taste in July. I hope you’re already run ragged by summertime fun by then.

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