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Carefree Days of Summer

Letter from the Editor

Article by Robin Moyer Chung

Photography by Ashley Skatoff

Originally published in Westport Lifestyle

Is August really “carefree”?

I once read a line in a local publication about a mother spending her summer days “having a blast” with her three young children at Compo Beach.

Also a mom of three young children at that time, this line made me pause. Was I, too, having a blast with my kids at the beach? Yes… but really no.

It was me against three, against ocean, playground, bubble gum machines (now gone) and whatever else commanded their immediate and unmitigated attention. They were cute, they were mine, but they were work.

I spent most of my time trying to manage one while the other two scattered in directions unknown. I endured countless scowls from folks whose parenting skills were, apparently, sharpened on grittier stone than my own.

I once asked a friend if he had a “blast” on the beach with his kids. “Yes!” he enthused. Then he conceded he was referring to evenings (read: wine and apps) with his wife while their au pair monitored their two kids. Said au pair also de-sanded, de-sunscreened, and helped wrangle the post-beach kiddies into bed.

Last summer a friend posted a photo of her family in Italy. They were stunning. She and her husband and her now-teenage girls smiled beatifically, in a way that made one believe in fairy tales.

When I saw her back in Westport I asked about their glamorous and enviable escapade. “It was awful,” she replied. “It was so hot and the kids argued the entire time.”

I adore this woman.

Of course, years later, my thoughts wander. I think of my kids begging me to swim in the cold surf so I can grab their warm little bodies as they sputter by, of them piling broken shells into my hands so I can add their treasure to my seashell bowl in the dining room, of them excited for me to share their joy in crawling around the diminutive jungle gym.

For them, these days are carefree. These are amazing and irreplaceable days that we create for them.

To all parents: job well done.

  • Robin Moyer Chung