When I was seven or eight, summer meant my birthday, yogurt push-ups, running in the sprinklers, tiptoeing barefoot across the black asphalt of our apartment complex and diving for pennies in my aunt’s pool; it seems to me now, thinking back, that every good childhood memory I have is a summer memory – in every fond recollection, there are always beads of sweat dripping down the back of my terry cloth romper, perhaps while I inhale a Slurpee or wait in line to see Star Wars or watch a sparkler nip at my fingertips.
Summer is magical. Especially when you’re a child.
It’s no different - thank goodness – for my own children.
Last summer, we made a summer bucket list: go to a River Cats game, have a water balloon fight, hold a lemonade stand, make lunches for the Mustard Seed School, go swimming in a lake. We’d cross off each accomplishment and move on to the next and strangely, all the fun kind of felt like work – all that list-iness sucked the fun right out of the fun.
This summer, we have no list. There will be summer camps, that I know. Ice cream. Bike rides. Wading in the muddy creek with my nephews. Swimming at Grandma’s. A visit to my sister in Portland. But as far as what else happens, I’m going to leave that open this time. This summer – the ninth and sixth summer of my children’s lives – I’m going underschedule.; I’m going to leave some big empty patches on our calendar, hours to spend doing whatever it is that happens in summer during the big empty patches. Maybe we will just lay around in sweaty piles, wishing we had fled the valley for the beach. Or we will master Battleship or Sorry or, less likely, Parcheesi, the game that once took longer than my first labor.
This summer I want to allow for more moments. Less events. After all, it is the moments I remember best from my own childhood summers – sitting in cut-off shorts, holding down the top of the homemade ice cream while someone else cranked it, fireworks exploding overhead, time stretching in front of me like an endless road.
Let the summer of magical moments commence.