The Magic of Summer
Summer. There is just something about this time of year, isn’t there? Something that makes you want magical things to happen, for yourself and especially for your children. I do find it difficult to give into to the dreaminess and promise of adventure this season seams to present now that I am an adult. I yearn less (sometimes not at all) for warm summer night walks, days spent swimming in the ocean out to a point where my feet can no longer touch the sandy bottom, sleeping outside under the stars whispering to dear friends by the campfire until sleep overcomes us. It is not so easy for me now to go through the seasons actually living, not just passively noticing, the difference. Sadly, the days often run right into one another, much too quickly, without inhaling the specialness of any particular day. Not always, but sometimes.
Of course, this wasn’t always the case with me. I have many magical memories of my childhood summers, many which come from family vacations and trips to summer camp. Almost all of these memories involve being outside, whether walking the hot concrete sidewalks of Washington D.C., hiking in Yosemite, or catching fireflies on the fourth of July in Williamsburg. I also have some wonderful recent memories of summer. I have this dear friend who epitomizes summer. She is a summer baby, a Leo, after all. A few years back, she hosted Ryan and me in Bar Harbor, Maine for a week, and we spent the time hunting for the best blueberry ice cream and walking at night in places with absolutely NO light, and I mean NO light, not even a flashlight, and trusting her that we would eventually find our way back home. We also swam in icy lakes during the day and went start gazing at night. And oh my. I have never seen so many stars in my life! I actually felt that I was at the top of the world and that the stars were all around me except for where my feet stood on the ground. Amazing.
And now, I am beginning to see a particular “summerness” in my children, especially Darren. He is looking for adventure and fantasy. He has always been one who loves a story, whether told from the heart or read from a book. However, now his appetite for words is insatiable. And when I am not available for storytelling, I hear him making up stories for himself and his brother while they play. He wants to move and sing and dance and make and destroy and discover and fight and cuddle all day long. And Jonah, still in awe of his brother, follows Darren’s lead. It is beautiful, exhausting, and magical all at the same time. I know that the magic will often come on its own. Put a child into the summer season and give him a little freedom, and there is no stopping it. But, after reading this post I began thinking back on my own fond summer memories and ways to help my children create some for themselves. (By the way, I encourage all parents of young children to go over to The Parenting Passageway and take a look at this post as there is lots of good stuff there.) So here is a list of some of the things I came up with to help my children, and yes to help me as well, tap into the magic of summer.
Spend more time at the beach, play in the sand with the kids and actually get in the water (getting in the water is more of a note to self as the boys have no problem with this)
Backyard bonfires — singing songs, making food, and just burning stuff (Darren loves the burning stuff part)
More camping, with and without a tent, in the backyard and at campgrounds
Go to farms and pick our own fruit
Forage for wild fruit (OK, this may have to be urban foraging unless anyone as any ideas where we can find wild huckleberries or boysenberries or such?)
Have our meals outside
Find a dark place, away from the lights, where we can actually see the stars
Go on nighttime adventures with flashlights
More water play
Make a hammock
Watch the clouds
Read outside, hopefully in our hammock
Search for the best ice cream around
OK, any suggestions for me? I would love to add to my list. And please, please! I would love for people to share any childhood summer memories or memories they are making for their children! I need ideas! Here is to a magical summer for us all.