When you were a kid, do you remember how summers seemed to linger, the days felt long, and you stayed outside until dark catching fireflies in your Mason jars?
Do you remember playing Marco Polo endlessly at the pool, riding your bike to the park and feeling the burning heat of the day on your legs as you slid down the metal slide, and getting ice cream every day from the pool snack bar without counting calories?
What I remember most about my childhood summers is being outdoors. Sure, some days in the backyard were hot, but we’d spread out a blanket underneath a tree and break out the Barbies — sometimes we’d even wash the Barbie clothes and hang them on the line to dry. Sometimes we would pitch our white and red striped tent with the window that opened and park ourselves in there or sell lemonade to the passersby on the sidewalk. We’d use our imaginations, and make up stories; sometimes we were pirates or circus folks or dancers on a stage. Other times we were swashbucklers and knights. Summertime was meant for family and friends; it was meant to connect you in ways you didn’t connect when you were busy during the school year.
I have such vivid memories of summers spent at the Jersey Shore or Bethany Beach with my parents and grandparents. The photo above is of my grandfather at the pool in Bethany West–we had so much fine doing dives and jumps for hours. And when we were rounded up to go home to eat, it was always too soon.
Summer forced us all to just slow.down.a.bit.
It was summertime magic.
And thank GOD we didn’t have electronics to beg for our time.
The best thing you can give your child–in my humble opinion–is a set of great childhood memories. Sure, you want your kids to succeed in high school and college, to make the varsity squad, and to be successful in life. But success doesn’t always mean you have to be driven during every waking moment. Success can also mean that you were influenced by things that are real and tangible, by a magnificent gaggle of love that surrounded you no matter what. Because those wonderful memories will stay with you and impact you as you make decisions about how to raise your own children and spend summers with them.
Summer, I have always loved you.
Today is July 31, and August is upon us, which means summer is coming to an end.
But not without a fight.
At least, not from me.