i feel it from deep down inside my lungs. from the bottom of my rapid-beating heart. from the tips of all my limbs. i think i even feel it from my bum.
the sigh of not just summer’s launch, but a sigh that’s never been.
here we are, the clock ticking toward the holy hour when the school bell will last clang, when my fourth grader will leave his little school, the high schooler already no longer a high schooler.
these are the first few hours of pure summer oxygen. when all the cares, at last, are gone. when the summer lies ahead, no need to rush from bed in mornings, no need to turn out lights at 9 or even 10 at night. no need, gosh darn it, to stir and cook and put square meals on plates. we can choose, if we want, to slice a watermelon and call it dinner.
summer is the season of so many choices.
and this summer, this holy blessed summer, is the summer in which i can chart–as if a meteorologist tracking storms or humidity–the pressure lifting like a swiftly-rising puffy cloud, the pressure evaporated, gone.
no college essays due. no dabbling with the SAT study guide. no memorizing state capitals and abbreviations. (it’s darn-near comic, often here, having two boys with feet so far apart, one in elementary world and the other all the way to college.)
and this holy blessed summer, i don’t even have to worry about the bus for camp racing by before we’re ready. camp at our house this summer consists of a company of two: one’s the counselor, one’s the camper.
my college-bound boy will spend the summer days, or at least my work days, on adventures with his little bro. they’ve picked a town-and-country theme (or at least the older one picked it, the little one isn’t big on any theme that’s absent a ball and ballfield). the big boy will teach the little one all the things a boy should know: how to bait a fish hook, how to use a compass, how to travel on the “el” train. he’ll teach him how to cook a hot dog on a stick. and, perhaps, how to bench press, oh, 30 pounds.
i had no forms to fill out for this summer. no tetanus shots come due.
i might as well toss all alarm clocks. and wrist watches while we’re at it.
we are running without rigors of where to be when.
we are, for the first and perhaps the last time, this summer exploring what it means to be without a long list of must-get-dones.
we are letting brothers be brothers. we are letting boys be boys.
we are, so help me, going barefoot. making ice cream. picking berries. watching clouds go passing by.
we’ve earned this respite from the madness. and i am claiming every ounce of it.
so many saturday mornings we’ve been jarred awake by alarms telling us, in no uncertain terms, that we must be dressed, be out the door.
i’ve whispered, sighed, moaned, “this is crazy, this is no way to live.” as i’ve watched myself mad-dash from here to there to everywhere.
and this is the summer when the billboard in my head reads one simple word: SAVOR.
savor slumped shoulders, the load finally slid off, the back-tightening worries, gone.
savor screen door slapping. savor breeze blowing through the porch. savor fireflies. savor whispers on the front stoop till the moon is high above.
savor being together with both boys, the heartbeats of my life, my loves.
savor oars swooshing through the water. savor sand between the toes. savor tomatoes sliced and salted. savor peach juice dripping down my chin.
savor all it took to get us here. savor that we’ve made it. savor two boys who both consider it a blessing to spend the summer bumming ‘round together.
savor nights without homework, and mornings without racing, rushing, panting, shrieking.
savor every blessed drop.
it’s time to sigh the deepest sigh. it won’t last forever.
and just how do you plan to spend your summer’s vacation? what’s on your wish list of summer joys?
my little one (up above) asked last night if he got “special breakfast” since it was the last day of school. why, of course. out came the red “you are special today” plate, and the turkey bacon and the pancakes with sliced peaches and maple syrup. that little guy is playing in the little league world series this weekend. game one’s tonight, unless the rains don’t stop. games two and three come saturday and sunday, all three played out in an idyllic little ballpark here in town, a place that’s a throwback in time, with dugouts and a flagpole and a snack shack where hot dogs are $1.25, and rice krispie treats are just a quarter, and brownies too, all made by a woman with her hair twisted in a bun atop her head, a woman named bonnie who hovers over the place as if a mother hen. it’s a place with an old-time scoreboard just like the one at wrigley field, with tin numbered squares, carted out beyond the cyclone fence by little kids pulling a red radio flyer wagon, who try inning after inning to keep track of all the runs. not a bad way to start the summer, playing it like a scene from some old-fashioned movie, kids on a playlot, slugging, sliding, pitching, catching for the world series trophy. we got lucky this year, and my little slugger found himself on a team with true all-stars, the kinda kids whose names will be whispered around town for years to come. we are going along for the ride. and some ride it is…..some start to summer, indeed.