Marquita Griffin

These days I’m more excited about the summer season than I was as a child.

Don’t get me wrong, the summers of my youth were unquestionably priceless, but as a parent I find this season more rewarding than those of my past.

There is something soothing about that replacement of the droning school bus engine with the squeals and chatter of neighborhood kids enjoying their freedom.

It’s nice to see the parents sitting in lawn chairs in the front yard while the little ones splash through the sprinklers.

Or the groups of teenagers, laughing or joking about something or other, packing movie theaters or riding their bikes to the corner store.

As an adult, it’s a refreshing sight.

It’s a reminder of times long since passed, and the opportunities to recreate the magic.

These are the days when I will have time to sit in the backyard while my sons run around with the water hose soaking that scorching soil while cooling off their faces and necks.

I already have plans to buy water balloons, sidewalk chalk and a bubble machine for some wholesome fun in the sun.

And the best part is I won’t have to remind them that bedtime is nearing and that the following day is a school day.

I’ll be able to relax a bit more, and they will, too.

This is the time for bare feet on grass, sand between toes and popsicles that drip sugary stickiness if not eaten quickly enough.

This is the period of experimental summer foods, blue coconut flavored snow cones and trips to the local library or bookstore for a new read.

For traveling and longer visits with the grandparents. For sandals and summer dresses. For day trips out of town to visit museums or amusement parks.

The nights will be hotter, that’s for sure, but it makes for the perfect spontaneous card or domino games, preferably outside on a porch or deck, while some blues plays in the background.

Barbecue gatherings will increase. Mosquitoes will be out of control. Flies will annoy party guests.

Cars will be packed with friends who have enough change in their pocket for gas, food and a fun evening out.

Then, of course, there is that unforgiving Texas heat that you just can’t seem to escape, especially in this area with all its humidity.

Air conditioners are going to work harder and, for me at least, there will be days when cold showers will be in order.

And this brings me to my next point: Enjoy the summer, but be aware of the heat emergencies.

I shared the same information with you last summer, and after recently seeing the aftermath of someone who had been in the heat too long, I feel the need to use my column today as a reminder.

There are three stages: heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which you know can be fatal.

Heat cramps, the first stage, usually presents with muscle pain and tightness.

Heat exhaustion presents with muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting, pale skin, fainting, heavy sweating, a fast heart rate or breathing, headache, extreme thirst, dizziness, mild confusion and irritability.

Heat stroke symptoms include dry skin, seizures, weak and rapid pulse, hallucinations or irrational behavior, confusion, loss of consciousness and a body temperature over 104.

Enjoy all the telltale signs of the summer, but take care of yourself, too.

Drink water, watch the alcohol intake — especially if you’re outside — and seek the shade whenever possible.

Here’s to what I’m sure will be Here’s a pat on the back to Rosenberg Fire Department PIO Barbara Smolik for her successful grant-writing skills. a hot one.

Reach Marquita Griffin at mgriffin@fbherald.com.

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