Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sweet summer time

As I tucked my son into bed the other night, he bemoaned the fact that tomorrow was yet another school day.
He loves it, but a week of testing can wear a boy out.

“Cheer up!” I said. “We have big plans for the summer.”

“Like what?” he asked.

“We are flying 4,000 miles to Alaska to stay with your cousins, remember?”

His response?
“Are we doing anything else?”

I shot him a look that made him quickly add, “Just asking!”

Each generation likes to tell the generation after them how hard they had it growing up, and how lucky they have it today.

Well, I’ve now become that generation.

“We need to go buy a 1964 Pontiac with no air conditioner,” I declared as I came down the stairs from saying good-night.
“What?” my husband asked.

“I want an old Pontiac or Chevrolet like I had growing up, so I can pack PB&J sandwiches, roll down the windows and take them on road trips the old-fashioned way, so they’ll appreciate what they have.”

“Why do you want to punish us like that?” my husband replied.

I sighed. He had a point. Anytime we have to drive more than 30 minutes, I marvel at how the DVD is the greatest invention ever. In fact, my kids measure trip distance by how many movies they can watch. Disney World is a five movie trip (one way), for example.

Alas, growing up, my poor parents did not have that luxury. Fortunately, the noise from the air blowing into the windows would drown out the cries of “How much farther?” and “She’s looking at me!” from my sister and me.

Today, summer for kids means camps and planned activities and what adults would consider dream vacations. Back in my day (yes, I just said that), summers meant something entirely different. Summers meant delightful treats, such as wild blackberries and honeysuckles.

Summers meant we could go barefoot (though I don’t know why that was such a huge deal because, frankly, it hurt, especially since our yard was full of bees and sweet gum balls), but somehow taking our shoes off for the first time and feeling the cool sensation of clover beneath our feet meant freedom.

Freedom to roam and play and read and eat popsicles made from Kool-aid in little squares meant for ice cubes. Freedom to get bored and make mud pies and catch lightning bugs. Freedom to be a kid. And, it was wonderful.

Somehow, I hope this summer my children can get a taste of what I had back then – even if we have to travel 4,000 miles to find it. Although, I think we’ll take a plane and not a ‘64 Pontiac for this trip.


jo(e) said...

I had forgotten about Kool-Aid popsicles!

Meredith Leigh Knight said...

They were the best. :)