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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

More BBQ’s

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.

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1 Alex { 07.15.11 at 10:07 am }

Make a ham­mock!!!! We have been trying to figure out a way to affrod one for a few years…somehow the “house” bud­get is always nee­ded for more boring things! It never occu­rred to me that I could make one string enough to sup­port Bill. Did you find a tuto­rial somewhere? I’d love to see it. I’ve seen ham­mocks fairly inex­pen­sive on Craigs­list. Isn’t rope expen­sive? I think at this point we are par­tially held up by nee­ding a stand too but I might try to make one too yet if it works for you!

Free live music in the park!

2 Alex { 07.15.11 at 10:08 am }

heh, that was afford, and then strong. why do typos magi­cally appear as soon as I hit send?

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