There’s something about that first long night of summer break. The way the sky looks as the world quiets to it and the sun dips. The fields of fireflies we pass by on the back roads on the way home from the historic fountains in our small downtown. The just barely cool air that hits my skin as the stars start to peek out once I exit the car. The way you can breathe in all of the possibility. The feeling that you want to capture it all at once. It’s dense, fragrant and exciting. The whole summer is in front of you.
And then it’s gone.
There was every intention of writing this blog when the summer started, you see. We experienced one of those magical nights that you just want to bottle up and hold tightly in time. I remember thinking to myself how sweet a first grader seemed kicking a ball in the front yard with his four-year-old brother. I was perched on the red bench on my front porch drinking coffee and letting the sunshine fall around me that day– and then later that night I took that drive with the fireflies and all of the beauty and feeling that a summer night gives.
But, as with any summer and any fleeting point in time, life happens. It becomes a string of small moments that collide. Steaming hot cars as you run errands, doing the ninth load of laundry and losing all your hot water, last-minute work for work, and some tantrums and meltdowns over the lack of Goldfish stash at your house or the fact that no one is allowed to use their iPads because we’re going outside to play.
Somehow summer fits in there. And it’s beautiful. Why? I don’t even have to say it if you have kids because you’ve lived it.
This is the moment where we feel our childhood once again. It’s this moment that is so special and we really, really shouldn’t miss it.
But sometimes it feels like we do.
We didn’t make it to the pool this summer. The one time we attempted a big storm blew in. We didn’t make it home to my parents’ place on the lake due to chaotic schedules and life. We didn’t get ice cream nearly as much as we should have.
And as I hear the late-summer locusts outside, I realize we only rode our bikes maybe twice.
But we did have tacos and chips with friends out in the garage-door covered patio up the road and laughed through the evening. We made it to the sticky and hot bleachers for Dime-A-Dog night at one of the best Triple-A stadiums in the country. Rocked out to some amazing music at the zoo. Caught some laughs in the air-conditioned movie theater while watching Despicable Me 3. Watched the puppet show downtown while noshing on ice cream and creating kiddie art. Took Saint Joseph, Michigan my storm come rain or shine. When the rain came, we found a kid-friendly winery.
And we ended it all with the gorgeous weather on Kelley’s Island with some great people– the kids riding the waves from Lake Erie onto the shoreline.
We only have 18 summers when we have kids. That’s it. I remember reading that fact with new eyes for the first time here on a blog that a friend shared.
And with the speed that this summer went by– my heart and head are tearing up a little. Because it’s always going to go this fast.
Today– school begins. And even though everything feels like we’re ending summer on the right note, it’s hard to see it go. Backpacks aren’t torn apart at the seams and clothes are set out. Hair gel is in and the morning breakfast table feels a little different than all those mornings when we were eating Eggos and putting on sunscreen for camp and other adventures.
The fireflies will soon be gone. The sun will start to set earlier. The nights with just the slightest chill will turn into something else. And it means another year is gone.
Magic is fleeting. So next time you get to hold it– care for it. It’s a precious thing that can’t be duplicated, and we are so fortunate that we have the privilege to relive it through our children.