At the risk of sounding like my mother, in my day, summers were just that: Summers.
When I try to think back and dig through all my childhood memories, although I have many, I can't for the life of me remember specific dates or even worse, ages. My summer memories are 10 summers long and melted into one big box in my head called "summertime". I honestly think that is because my summers weren't split up in specific events like soccer seasons or trips to many new places. We never had much money. My mom was a stay-at-home mom and my dad owned a small business, which meant he would take 2 short weeks off a year. So summer to us was home.
From school end to school start, we were pretty much free. I remember the neighborhood rule that you couldn't go knocking at your friends' doors until 8 am. That left us sitting on our back porches, asking "is it time yet" over and over until we finally got the green light from mom. Funny thing though, our friends were usually waiting for us in the backyard. That is right: We were all outside by 8 am.
Phones, we had them. But they weren't used to organize play dates. We just knew our friends wanted to play. Rain or shine, we would meet in our yards and set off for whatever adventure we had cooked up that day. The phones were only used when our moms would start calling each other trying to figure out where we were because lunch was ready. All the neighbors knew each other, so no one was worried. Somebody had an eye on us somewhere.
I got hurt plenty and survived. I ate dirt and survived. I climb trees and fell in creeks and survived. Surviving the bumps and bruises of childhood is what we did and we felt stronger and more confident for it. We were proud of our broken bones and the over-autographed casts we wore. I remember on summer, sitting on the handle bars of a friend’s bike being chauffeured around because I had to use crutches for a few weeks after a bad sprain. Was I 8 or was I 10? I don't know. But it is a fun and vivid image in my mind.
And every summer, we rented the same trailer by the sea at a beach side campground in the town where my dad is from. There was no TV, no video games. There was the beach, campfires, books, card games, visiting with my grandparents, helping in there garden, collecting seashells and rocks and swimming. We would come home with bags of rocks and shells, from which we made crafts for our friends as souvenirs. Because that is another thing I remember: I never bought souvenirs for myself, I made them for other people.
When people today ask me why I've made the choices that I've made for our family, I tell them that my childhood was amazing and I want my kids to experience that as well. Before they know it, life will become a schedule of so many things. Growing up, they will fight for minutes a day to feel as free as I felt when I was young. I've chosen the path I'm on because I want my children to be children for as long as they can. I want them to speak of their childhood the way I speak of mine: A time filled with imagination and whimsy, tan lines and bug bites, late nights and early mornings.
And at this precise moment, I want their summer to be just that: Summer.
Thanks for sharing Yanic. It seems we share some of the same childhood memories.
A little about Yanic and her family:
Yanic is a wife and new stay-at-home mom of 2 kids. She and her family have been on a path of simplicity, connection and spiritual growth for a few years, but only in the last few months have they truly decided to make their dreams a reality by starting their urban homestead. Yanic began her blog as a way of journaling about her day-to-day life with her kids, talking about her passions - gardening, vegetarian cooking and quilting and sharing with others, but it has now become a space for self growth, discovery and expression.