In those days I could hardly wait for the end of June. So many moms fretting about long months without childcare, or long days without “a break,” but I had that covered. I was the childcare, and they were the break. In summer, we didn’t have to get up at 8 am and part for 7 hours before we could hang out. Apart from one or two epic fail weeks of summer camp (should they go all summer without “socializing”!?), the summers were ours (no, they should socialize with me).

Those were good summers with my boys – a few beach days and nights at a little inn on the water, and those regular lunches on our flagstone patio: grocery store barbequed chickens with fresh local strawberries, made all the more luscious by the wisteria draped along the border of the awning, by the birds nesting at the intersection of branch and wrought iron, by the fragrant bloom of our half acre in the city, and by the rise of our voices in laughter and song.

And there were nights in the study dancing to all my old music, and to music that was my parents’ old music. Their delight at singing along with Helen Reddy: “I am woman; watch me grow; see me standing toe to toe…” Giggles as they knocked their knees trying to press their big toes together. There was Anchorman, the movie, which we ran on infinite repeat. We laughed again and again at the same things, things that remained funny. We hot tubbed in the backyard under the stars.

And I was something to them. I was something good.

For one more such summer – and its seeming endlessness – what wouldn’t I give? To have them home, lounging as though it can’t end; no drama; no broken hearts or breaking them; no deadlines that a note from me can’t push back; no plans to drive back on Monday or to gather again in a month, or two. What wouldn’t I give?

I don’t suppose I’d give whatever years I might have left of missing them but knowing how they are. I wouldn’t give up being there when they need me, however less frequent that becomes. And I certainly wouldn’t give their freedom, or their futures, or their new lives with friends and loves.

It is what it is, but, boy, I’d give a lot.

Those summers are something to me.

Copyright Gossamer Universe 2019; Photo Elle Imaging 2018.


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