It is the early morning drive to Shumway Lake that makes the day right. Little boy learns to paddle kayaks, canoes, dragon boats and swims in the lake during a week-long camp that fits our idea of learning. Outside. The road is all ours in bright early morning, a shiny grey ribbon snaking its way among hills of dry grass and lazy cows, so still they look like they’re painted on.
Today we play Strauss’s waltzes ever so quietly, just enough to make happy thoughts bounce. We talk about life on a farm… Could we, little boy asks? I wish so too, maybe we could. We plan for a garden of yummies, and chickens for eggs and days that would start with walking barefoot in dewy grass and would end with sweet smells of fruit ripening and the alluring songs of crickets. Because we’d have many of those.
I drive back and have breakfast with the big boy. He’s growing, his jokes are too and his understanding of the world is humbling. This summer has been coffee-free but tiredness obliges this morning so I make one. Can I have a bit? Almost tall enough to look me in the eyes, he gets a nod and a smile. So we sit and chat and nothing can pull me back from cloud nine where I take temporary residence. How did we get here? We started small, with sleepless nights and small hands reaching for the ever protective nest of my body. His hands, his face, his bright eyes and dreams building as he speaks. Today is a gift. Every day is.
The day unfolds, I drive on what is now a busy road to pick up little boy. We play near the lake first, it’s sweltering hot and little boy explodes in laughter as we play a silly hanging ball game. it’s like those times when I go in the garden to pick but a handful of ripe harvest for dinner but there’s so much I don’t know where to put it so I balance with my arms full, dropping some and feeling grateful for bounty. Here is the same. Boy, sun, laughter, the bounty I have so much of…
The day turns hot, so we hide from the sun. Boys play with trains and Lego. Loud laughter, whispers, jokes only they can hear, all the silliness you can fit in a house as small as ours and in a world as big as the one they build for me every day.
In late evening, with the sun lost behind the horizon, we take a walk. The park is a block away, and barefoot is the way to go. The boys roll in soft grass, there’s so much laughter it paints the whole park joyful and there’s nothing sweeter than seeing their eyes squinting with too much fun from behind shiny blades of grass. That’s a treat you cannot have every day, joy and laughter are often finicky with growing children, moods swing and feet stomp… Not now, not today, not during the summer that has been ours completely, every day, every sunset and every bucket of laughter.
There’s a recipe for saving summer you know… You collect joy, like a thread you’d roll up in a ball… to have later, to make warmth out of, shelter for the days when there the grass will be there but the boys too big to play… If you’re there, every day, it’ll take a while, they grow slower, they like to stay a little bit longer too… Here, now. That magic world I cannot have enough of.
Little boy is ready for bed, soft tummy and round arms, he invites to silly talking and chuckles. We chuckle, hug and I rub his small back… half sleepily and melting in the promise of dreams to come, he whispers ever so softly ‘I don’t want time to pass…’
I smile, we hug, I let no tears showing and I know that I will never forget this. Some things you just don’t.
Later on, big boy stops by for a whispery chat. Growing boy chat about life and things he understands better… Adding steps to a story that’s just beginning to write itself. Hug goodnight, sweet dreams… I am still here, pulling the thread in, for later warmth, for memories, for all the magic I want to hold on to. On a day like today…