(Cue jazz music)
My neighbor and I sat on my porch the other day, looking over the muddy semi-arboretum below. Her child is about the same age as my kids, and they all play together often. Today, it was lightly raining, and the three of them had convinced us that what they needed to play in the rain. Since there was no thunder or lightning, and because they were so persistent, we acquiesced. Below they were now deeply engaged in an attempt to use their umbrellas to build a fort under one of the larger trees.
My friend and I sipped tea and gossiped idly about life. The kids snuck inside for snacks for their fort, while other neighbors stopped to chat with us. The rain let up, and soon shouts and laughter from the tag game echoed through our apartment complex.
It was a wonderful afternoon. Idyllic really. It made me jealous of my grandmothers, who must have been able to let their children play outside often. It was the kind of play that children need, and the kind of rest and company I needed. As I closed the door after walking them out at the end of the day, I realized it was one of the reasons I live here. It was something I didn’t even know I wanted, but now cling to. A simple life – happy, healthy, and without many rules.
Soon school will resume, and with it will come talk about summer vacations. Thanks to Facebook, I am already aware of many of my co-workers’ escapades – trips to Europe, camping tours of Canada, drives through Mexico. They all look beautiful, and is appears that everyone had a good time.
As for me, it’s hard to nail down my summer into a single, grand event. Instead, it was a compilation of a million small moments. There were bike rides, popsicles, swimming, beach days, trampoline parks, and fort building. We enjoyed Lego sculptures, debated Star Wars (which is a very serious and ubiquitous topic on our house), went to daycamp, played, rested, and hung out as a family.
“What did you do this summer?” I imagine being asked.
“We just stayed home,” I will answer with a big smile. “And it was marvelous.”