How did you spend your summers? I grew up in a neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio. Every part of Grandview Heights was walking distance. It’s a quaint part of Columbus with older homes, big trees, sidewalks, streetlamps, and on-street parking. There seemed to always be a kickball game in alleyways that would last until after the sunset. Those evenings seemed to last forever. We smelled of sweat and chlorine from the pool. The hum of the alleyway street light buzzed above…but we didn’t go inside until someone’s mom called them in. I imagine I climbed into bed exhausted, only to do it all again the next night.
Tonight my seven year-old is sleeping over with a neighborhood friend. He was so excited about tonight that he woke up at 5:30 this morning to start his day. He took his bike and his DSi game system. I’m sure as I write this that those boys are still awake playing video games and having a great time. I’m so grateful for summer and all the fun it brings into my kids’ lives.
I spent so many nights of my summer with my best friend, Lindsay. We spent countless days together at the neighborhood pool. We rode our bikes there practically every day. We left the pool to hang out in her room playing Bargain Hunter and Guess Who for hours. Her mom made the best brownies, hands down. We ate them with Doritos and drank too much soda (or as Ohioans call it “pop.”) We French braided each others hair and complained about too many freckles on our faces. It was a time in life when nothing else mattered except that moment.
It feels strange though to be on the other side of this. All those nights I spent just trying to get Elliot to sleep through the night and now he’s saying things like “dude, how late do you think we can stay up?” He asked his friend this yesterday as they made plans for the sleepover. All I could think was “and so it begins.”
I wonder if Elliot is spending tonight making some of those same types of memories. Times when friends matter more than who you have a crush on. Times when you laugh until you finally fall asleep. I think he is, and I’m thankful for that.
Time flies when raising kids. When Elliot was a baby John would sit on the porch swing and hold him until he fell asleep. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, until he finally surrendered to sleep. I would stand in the kitchen cleaning up after dinner and listen to the creaking of the porch swing chains. I remember one night John came in with a sleeping Elliot in his arms and said “never in my life has time gone so quickly but stood still at the same time.” What a statement! Truer words were never spoken!
As parents we sometimes feel that a season of parenting will never end—much like those summers I spent with Lindsay. Being 11 seemed to last forever and all of a sudden I’m 35 (wow, did I really just admit that?!). But, truth be told, time marches on. Now it’s Elliot’s turn to make those summer memories. How amazing life is.
I think parts of my childhood started me off in just the right direction. Had it not, I wouldn’t be sitting here typing this…remembering Lindsay, remembering laughing, remembering how great it was to have a best friend. I’m sure there are friends from your past that spark these memories too. I hope your summers were filled with friends, junk food, kickball, pool parties, and great memories. I wouldn't be who I am today without those memories.
Proverbs 22:6 Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Thank you for reading.