Summers were the highlight of my year. Partly because I hated school and felt it was a waste of my time, but also because of all the things I was able to do in the summer.
Summers were spent with my dad and his family. A few weeks after school ended my two brothers and I were packed and bundled onto the plane headed for North Carolina. And then the fun would begin. We’d spend days at my grandparent’s house eating junk food, watching cable television (which we didn’t have at home due to its corruptive capabilities) or riding bikes up and down the neighborhood streets.
We need that little break, we need that little bit of freedom that summer can bringOne month out of the year we would either go to the mountains or to New York. The whole family would get together in one cabin on Lake Erie, in Sunset Bay. All the aunts, uncles and cousins you could round up would be there and my grandparents worked very hard on coming up with activities to keep all of the kids busy. (I can recall one particular scavenger hunt that had “A Stray Dog” on the list.)
Summer was a time to do things that you never had time for during the school year. We’d go tramping through the woods or hiking in the mountains. We would visit all of the little local theme parks and even though there usually was not much to them, we would always find a way to make them fun. You went roller-skating after dark with nothing but the streetlights and the stars above you; you played in the rain completely soaked to the skin. You made up a hundred little games and played them until all hours of the night. You would visit the library a hundred times in that summer. You practically lived at the beach or the local pool. Or you would sit in bed with a book for hours at a time, because you had no where you needed to be and there was nothing you had to do. If at least for a few months.
I miss that. I still get excited at the end of the year, even though I haven’t been to school in six years. I see my little sister, my little brother and younger cousins building up for the excitement that they are finally free. Free with the whole summer stretching before them; a summer that seems endless. Endless, but full because we have so many things planned that we simply have to do. Whether it be catching fireflies or finally getting the courage to jump off of the high diving board.
I know they say that nothing stays the same but as we get older, wouldn’t it be nice if some things did?And then we grow up. All summer means to us now is that it gets hotter and we need to make sure we have a more comfortable wardrobe for work. Unless you have school aged children, the summer is just another season. Nothing changes and your daily grind is just the same.
My cousins have all grown up and moved away. My grandfather has died and my grandmother has gotten older. We still get together on occasion but nothing like we did before. I know they say that nothing stays the same but as we get older, wouldn’t it be nice if some things did?
I think some things can stay the same. We need that little break, we need that little bit of freedom that summer can bring. No, we can’t take two months off, but what is stopping us from doing all those things we did during the summer? I think one of the harder things about getting older is forgetting just how much fun all those little things can be.
This summer, don’t let it be just another season. Find a park and go for a bike ride. Stop for an ice cream cone just because you can. Spend a weekend and go camping, or swimming, or just go out for a late evening walk. Spend your days off reading in the sunshine and promise yourself one weekend where you are going to sit and enjoy doing nothing. Find a reason to get excited about the season. Give yourself something to look forward to, to build up anticipation for.
Sometimes, we can be just as free as we were as children. The only difference is this time we don’t have to ask for permission to ride our bike to the next block.