Summer is Coming

June 9, 2013

It’s the beginning of June is New England. We’re on the verge- of summer vacation, trips to the Cape and to the local pool, lazy mornings and late nights. I’ve already entered the season of coffee made the night before, and left in the fridge for the morning, of pedicures, and the familiar stink of sun block. But it’s not official till the last day of school, and that’s coming late this year

My kids are twelve and nine, so each year is dramatically different from the one before. Last year, camp was on the menu. Colin spent his days playing basketball at, you guessed it, basketball camp; Katy went to the Boys and Girls Club. I’m not sure what she did there; made art out of paper bags, played beauty shop under a tree.  On our rides home, I only heard bits of what happened each day, in between  frequent demands to turn the radio up and heartfelt pleas for ice cream. I’m well aware this year I will hear even less. every minute that passes, my children grow more mysterious.

I’m not sure how we are going to fill their time with during July and August. Money is even tighter, and camp is more expensive. And they have gotten old enough to stay home without supervision. Katy knows not to put metal in the microwave. Colin is well aware of the punishment that awaits if he visits sites deemed “inappropriate” on the computer, (though I’m getting the sense he’s figured out how to erase the history. Sometimes I do wish my children weren’t so savvy.)

But none of this matters. We aren’t there yet. We are on the verge of another summer. Another summer that they rely on me for money and transportation. Another summer when they still need me to remind them to put on the sun block and walk the dog and read a book and get some rest because ‘tomorrow is going to be a big, incredible, wonderful magical day.”

They may be old enough now to make macaroni and cheese without supervision. They are most definitely old enough to walk to the pool, and the park and the store. But they are still young enough that they still need me, sometimes. Even if it’s just to get them from point a to point b.

It’s a privilege to sit on the sidelines and observe them, from a greater and greater distance, as they continue to become the people they are deciding to be. For a time, they will grow more mysterious  I will eavesdrop  on their conversations for clues, and clean out their pockets on laundry day with a touch of apprehension.

Right at this moment, they are not mysterious. I can hear them out on the front stairs, dividing up gummy worms . Their voices are tangled up in a thunderous bass line from an old boom box, the crash of a lawn mower, a shrieking Yorkie in the yard next door, the whisper of the endless stream of mini vans  that pass by at all hours, and the laughter of at least fifteen of their friends. But I can make out the unique sounds of Colin and Katy, laughing. I can tell that Colin is impatient to get to the park, and Katy is a little tired from staying up to late last night.

They may be getting more mysterious by the moment. But I have time to pay close attention. And I’m really, really, really, smart.

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