Four weeks until school starts, that’s crazy. When I was a kid I felt like the summer was endless. The days at the pool seemed to drag on forever. My nose constantly filled with the smell of Bullfrog sunscreen and coconut oil (all those babysitters striving for the perfect tan; who cares about skin cancer). Sandwiches slapped together (by those same babysitters) of good old American cheese and bologna, can we say disgusting, and a cold can of Coke. Aahh, yes I loved those days. We would come home with sunburned shoulders and throw some clothes on only to get right back in the car to head up to the ball fields. We all played baseball, softball, or some sort of “ball” back then; if it wasn’t organized we gathered a group of friends and made something up. As twilight gathered on the horizon, we would chase lightning bugs and slap mosquitoes simultaneously as we ran down a huge hill at the back of the ballpark. It was heaven. I loved summer.
Now, summer isn’t like that anymore. I try to recreate my own childhood with my children and it just doesn’t seem to work. For one thing, I don’t live in my hometown. I don’t have the ball field, the same local swimming pool, and the same hill to run down. Oh, I can hear you all, “We have those things.” Well, it’s not the same. I grew up in a very small town; we only had one of each. On top of there being multiple pools, ball fields and hills to choose from, there is also the anonymity here that, in my haste to leave my small town at 18 and high tail it to VCU where “real” people lived, I failed to appreciate the “everyone knows everyone” feeling.
Over the years we have definitely forged a sense of “belonging” in Chester. We have friends, a wonderful church home and I constantly see people I know at the grocery store, that’s a sure sign of “belonging” somewhere, right? I love it here; I have the sense of contentment of living in a small town without the hassle of everyone knowing our dirty laundry (besides what I write in here haha). If you grew up in a super small town you know what I mean. I think what it boils down to is that things just aren’t the same anymore. I can take my kids to the pool, feed them sandwiches (but definitely not American and bologna) and take them to ball fields and let them run and chase lightning bugs and it still wouldn’t be the same, because time has moved on. The air is not as sweet, the time is not moving as slow and the world is spinning just a bit faster.
The slow, languid days of the summers of our youth are gone. I can only hope that 25 years from now my two darlings will look back and say, “Wow, what happened; summer used to drag on forever, we used to have so much fun swimming in the river and cleaning crabs with Pop and hunting for fossils.” And “Remember when Mom would make us popsicles and take us for ice cream and jumping waves at the beach, and that summer we got a puppy. When did the summer’s start going so fast?” Oh sweet babies, life will surely march on, and it just gets faster and faster each year.