Mom indulges feelings of envy

Summer rolled in and, if I did a strict accounting, I’d have to admit summertime still puts me speaking terms with more than one of the seven deadly sins.  Heck, my summer mode throws out the welcome mat for sloth to join in the fun, plus that year-round favorite, gluttony.  But keeping in mind that this is a family column, I will quickly tell you I am referring to envy.

I sat along the seashore yesterday idly watching my children, as I tried to keep the sand and seagulls away from the cooler. The kids didn’t care that the water was 60-something degrees.

They didn’t care that the saltwater stung their eyes.  They didn’t care that they went tush over teakettle several times from unexpected waves. They didn’t care that those same waves planted grit in every nook and cranny from hair to toes.  They did not care when they ran up and plopped, wet and happy, into the warm sand, only to add to the nook and cranny quotient.

I watched them run right into the ocean without hesitation and stay in there for 45 minutes.  They munched on semi-sandy snacks, dug, built castles, harassed sad crabs and played tag.  They refused a hat or sunglasses – squinting was just fine.  They were utterly swept up in the world of being young and absolutely carefree at the beach.

I remember those days.  I remember them so vividly that I wonder how I got so very far from that point of freedom and carelessness.  I’d like to blame it on the responsibilities of motherhood, but the real culprit is the evil adolescence and being female. The first time you realize how much of your skin was showing and that saltwater does not make for lovely hairdos, that freedom begins to crumble.

I can’t go backward.  Instead, I will just let my children have their day in the sun while I settle in for another summer of comfortable envy, with a dash of sitting-in-the-sun sloth. Wrath and greed will just have to wait their turn.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer, sharing vintage columns as part of her surrender to sloth. Contact her at


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