I remember morning light through thin curtains, through thick glass window panes, and shimmering off the water outside. I remember the sound of the lake lapping upon the shining sand, the low moans of the old dock, creaking.
I remember eggs and bacon and beans. I remember ketchup and hot dogs and eating wrapped in wet towels.
I remember musty smelling afghans, antique dresser drawers full of doilies, an old organ with foot pedals we pumped as we pretended to play. Shelves and sitting nooks with yellowed books, torn magazines that I carried with me.
I remember the cool, soft ground, wet with moss. And basketball in a hoop with no chain. I remember condensation on Tupperware cups of lemonade and the chipping grey paint of porch steps in the shade.
I remember boat rides, canoe rides, church island and blueberry picking. I remember screaming in my father’s ear, swimming on his back out to a raft well over my head. I remember the back seats of vans, watching trees scroll by as we wound through unfamiliar roads and hoped for ice cream.
I remember pockets full of arcade tickets. American flags on dripping, overflowing sundaes. Player pianos. Christmas ornaments in July and August. Magician sets and recorders and trinkets, filling my travel bags.
So much of parenting, for me, is looking back. It’s laying in bed at night and questioning what I did right or wrong and what I could have done better. It’s trusting that any damage is dulled by a good night’s rest and that wounds will heal. It’s hoping that someday, we’ll all be understood – me, as the it hurts me more than it hurts you, mom. Them as the wild and wonderful, adventurous and easily excited children, reminding me always just how big and mysterious and amazing the world is.
And how it once felt to me, too.
It’s looking back on my own childhood and the parts that still make me smile. It’s wondering what memories are being made now, for my children, that will last. Which days, which moments?
Summer flies. It catches you for a second, in flip flops and cannonballs and long, lingering sunsets over the dock. It’s fireworks and dripping popsicles and grass between your toes. It’s fireflies and it’s magic and it mesmerizes. But, make no mistake. Summer has wings and is gone while you’re still waiting for your bathing suit to hang dry.
And sometimes, it’s nice to not wonder, but to know, the memories that they will keep from this fleeting season.
Happy summer, my sweet kids.
I just love your work. I am reading this after a flop of a camping weekend with too much yelling (by me) and so much laying awake wondering if I’m doing an ok job.
Love reading that I’m not alone.
Happy Monday, please keep writing!!!
Shannon Neuman Calgary, Alberta Canada
Thanks so much, Shannon!
We’re all in this together, I’m convinced. 🙂