My son sets the official onset of summer at our house.
Many Americans consider the end of the school year the start to their summer break.
Working adults wait for the Memorial Day weekend to begin the summer vacation season.
Others still identify the beginning of summer by the almanac and the summer solstice to bring the official onset of the hottest season.
In Arizona, summer is sometimes identified by the first day of temperatures reaching 100, which has happened as early as March and as late as June, and summer temperatures can last well into October. According to South West Weather, Phoenix has seen an average of 110 days per year with maximum temperatures of 100 degrees or higher from 1981-2010.
Summer can mean different things to different people and different communities.
For people in the Midwest, it might mean high temperatures with high humidity and firefly infested nights.
For school age children it might mean camp-filled days with hiking, canoeing and campfires.
For parents of school age children summer can be road trips to Disneyland, Sea World or trips home to see the grandparents.
Memories of playing Marco Polo in the community pool or sliding down the largest slide, or riding the big waves at the local Water Surf Park carry some kids through the long fall school session.
Teenagers romanticize their time at the beach, riding the waves and checking out the bikini-clad babes as their dream summer.
As the temperatures start to rise and the sun begins to dry the air, and walking out the door feels like Hansel and Gretel stepping into the witch’s oven- the blast of heat whipping across your face and nostrils-, at my house we know summer might be on the way.
When all these things happen, we all hold our breath around the dinner table, or tread lightly after meeting for a family lunch; because the one true sign of summer at our house is when, because of the heat, my son can no longer hold down a decent sized meal.
We know it is summer at our house, when Russel throws up for the first time.