They look like summer, at least the way I imagine summer should look like, their blonde hair lightened by the afternoons of chlorine and sun. Tan lines despite the layers of sunscreen put on repeat. They smell hot, a mix of sun and sweat, and their feet are constantly dirty. We are at swimming lessons. We are jumping on the trampoline nonstop. We are riding bikes. There have been hours of gymnastics a day trying to perfect that cartwheel followed by attempts to walk across the living room on her hands. Dance class learning the difference between ballet first position and jazz first position. The joy of swimming under water with goggles and high fives from swim instructors. Just one more roller coaster. One more spin in the teacups. The books. Oh, the books. Reading into the late hours of the night. Weekly visits to the library to swap out their haul and log their minutes. Audio-books: The Indian in the Cupboard, fairy stories, and Encyclopedia Brown. Evenings on the sofa with the fan blowing on us as we watch Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, again.
Target is screaming at me that school will be starting soon with its piles of black and white speckled composition books and Ticonderoga #2s, but I am trying desperately to remember that we have five full weeks of school before our everyday is altered and two of my three will be gone all day long. I take all three to VBS this week and as I watch them sing their Jesus songs I stop myself from sobbing, stuck somewhere in the beauty of kids learning and happy and the wondering of what I am going to do when I grow up when it is three leaving me all day, just one year from now.
They tell us not to blink, before we know it those baby years will be gone and we will wake from our exhaustion induced stupor and look into the eyes of children who are far older than we realized. That moment hit me in the first few days of summer when I traded in a tattered six year old diaper bag for just a tote, emptied of pull-ups and anything that could easily identify me as the mother of young ones. My cupboards don’t hold a variety of sippy-cups and everything feels fast and too soon.
These are the days sprinkled with magic. Three girls. My ride or die. Hands, much larger than I remember, tucked inside mine as we walk across streets on search for one more summer adventure. Jumping on the trampoline at dusk with glow sticks flying and Stevie Wonder filling the air. Counting fireflies and asking for just five more minutes. Days when it’s fun to play with the friends we miss but mom and dad are just as good, if not better.
This is the summer I don’t want to end. The one I’ve tucked inside my heart and not on Instagram. Here’s to five more weeks of laughs and learning. Five more weeks of sticky fingers from melting ice cream and overripe peaches. Five more weeks of dirt under fingernails and van floors full of sand and woodchips. Five more weeks of lazy mornings and late nights. Five more weeks of soaking in the goodness.
Five more weeks.