I was recently going through the pictures in my Dropbox and came across the last few years of summer pictures. To be honest, at first glance looking through them, I thought…”WOW! Are we really that boring?”
You see, while most people go on vacations and cruises, visit water parks and amusement parks for their summer trips, we don’t.
We don’t do that. Since we moved to Texas 6 years ago, we always go home to Florida and visit family.
Is that a bad thing I wondered? Are we bad parents by not spending hundreds of dollars on elaborate vacations? Are we? I honestly had to sit back and think what it was like for me as a child and what summer meant to me all those years ago.
Since my parents were divorced, I always spent a few weeks each summer in Texas. And yes, those weeks were full of roller rinks, movies and trips to the water park or dude ranch.
The rest of the summer when I was home? It was a typical country summer. It was 1980something. We played outside until dark, turning cartwheels in the forked high grass. We rode go carts and bicycles. We came inside for popsicles and stood in front of my grandma’s window fan and pretended to be robots.
I realized my summer was a strange mix of homegrown and big city fun and that sublime combination gave me the most wonderful memories. Those were the kind of summers I wanted my kids to have, so I took a good, hard look back through those pictures again and you know what I realized?
I realized that summer means to me…
…stained, sticky fingers ripe with blackberry juice…
…daily tantrums from the exhaustion of too much swimming, too much playing, too much good old fashioned outdoor fun.
It means getting creative with what you have and building a raft out of a sand box lid.
Spending entire days in dress up costumes, feeding the goats dressed as Little Red Riding Hood and performing twilight plays with cowboys and princesses.
It means splashing in the first rain we’ve had after being stuck inside in the Texas heat for days.
Summertime morning movies, afternoon bowling games and trips to the beach at sunset to collect seashells….
…playing under the tall pines at Nanna’s, reading on the porch swing and getting excited to see those first crepe myrtle blooms.
Riding in the front seat down the dirt road to Nanna’s and watching that watermelon grow from the seed Pawpaw carefully saved in his pocket and planted.
Twilight sparklers while wearing paper necklaces you made at vacation bible school…
cartwheels at dusk…
and sandcastles made from creek rocks.
Without even realizing it, I’ve unknowingly given my kids that hybrid 80s summer I cherished so much growing up.
They get the same delicate mix of city life with a hefty dose of country life.
They see the excitement in a day ripe with a summer activity and they see the wonder in a summer’s day with no plans stretched out in front of them.
It didn’t take much for me to realize that our summers, though boring to some, are pretty damn amazing. And you may not think so, but that’s ok. I know my kids have made some wonderful memories out of even the most mundane summer days, just like I did.
And that’s what summer means to me.