• Mama PhD

    Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.


Math Geek Mom: This Was the Summer

Seasonal reflections.

August 18, 2016

In the next week, classes will begin for both me and my daughter. This means that the summer is now officially over, and “the year” begins. As this transition happens, I reflect on what experiences this summer brought with it, as I mourn its passing.

This was the summer that began with leftover battles to play. The Cleveland Cavaliers became the first professional sports team from Cleveland in over fifty years to win a national championship, and while we were not in town for the celebrations, we watched the fun unfold from our vacation. This was the summer that saw a parade honoring those players, again, something that had not been seen in our town for as long of a time. And, as if not to be undone, this is the summer that saw the professional baseball team in Cleveland begin its season with a wonderful record. One friend from college even suggested that perhaps Cleveland could win a kind of a “triple crown” in all three major professional sports; basketball, baseball and football. While doubtful, I am still not giving up on that possibility.

This is the summer when I finished the work I had begun on my sabbatical semester, and found myself part of a group that will have our names on the front of a book. For me, this is a first time that this will be the case. Now that I realize how do-able writing in such quantities can be, I have resurrected some plans I have had for a series of mystery novels I have wanted to write for several years. I plan to write some outlines this coming academic year, and pound away at them next summer.

This was the summer that I saw my little nephew learn how to swim. As his father does not swim, this was a particularly important milestone for him, and I took great delight watching him put his head underwater as he paddled around the pool on vacation. His older sister, a wonderful swimmer, encouraged him in his new sport. Perhaps someday one of them will swim in the Olympics.

This was the summer when the Cleveland area was visited by outsiders. First came the Golden State Warriors, who left the local basketball team in what seemed like an impossible deficit, but was not. Then came the cicadas. Not exactly outsiders, few showed up in our basically suburban city. The same, however, cannot be said of the ash borers, leading some in our neighborhood to cut down trees that were over one hundred years old. When the cicadas left, the Republicans came to town, clogging traffic but not spending as much time or money in the city as expected. My husband did note that a group of them came to our city to enjoy the lake and kayak, something that he was particularly proud of.

This was the summer that Pokémon Go! took over the afternoons of many, as they wandered around looking for hidden characters. We soon found that we had to be extra careful in driving through one very walkable section of a neighboring town, as people walked, watching their phones but hardly paying attention. I soon realized why; some of the stores had signs on them proclaiming that there were Pokémon characters to be found there. My husband described the scene as the “zombie apocalypse.”

And finally, this was the summer that saw the names of not one, but two women show up on most states’ ballots for President of the United States. As I have spent my academic career in male-dominated fields, I was surprised at how excited I was to see that. While I am not endorsing either of them, I am excited that, thanks to recent elections, my daughter will never think of the presidency of the United States as something that can only be aspired to by people who are White men. And, I must admit, I did shed a tear when I realized that.

What memories do you have of this summer that is soon fading into history?


      Wishing all of my readers a wonderful new semester as the calendar turns its pages to the new year.


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