We watch more movies. We take fewer baths. We bake more cookies. We grill. We sun. We fan. We aren’t afraid to get muddy or dirty or wet. We stay up later, we spend the night in different beds, and we make more exceptions because… summer.
But let me be the first to say, ever so quietly, that this summer is drawing to a close.
The nights will begin to darken. The morning humidity will lift. The vacation pictures will be tucked safely away in our Facebook albums… along with the bathing suits and the sunscreen. And the Target aisles will starting hinting of Halloween and various other holidays that try to bring a summer-like sparkle through the dark months.
Soon our minds will shift. We’ll go back to bathing and budgeting and books. The schedules will raise their heads again, and those who love routine will drop their kids off at the school bus to enjoy a clean, quiet house… finally.
And one day very soon we will sit huddled under our blankets surrounded by ice and gray and cold and we’ll wish for summer. We’ll pull out our vacation albums. We’ll taste the last of the canned vegetables from the garden. And we’ll wonder if it was really as wonderful as we had hoped.
Did we stretch out on blankets under a blue sky? Did we watch ladybugs crawl up our arms? Did we breathe deep the scent of summer rain? Did we wear out a path to the park and swim miles in the pool? Did we follow the sun down to the horizon and watch the stars come out? Did we say yes to water and mud and cookie dough and dripping crescents of watermelon? Did we release our kids to a neighborhood that feels like family or close down the street with kickball games and bike races? Was there freedom and laughter and joy? Skinned knees and butterflies? Mosquito bites and chocolate mouths?
Did we open our eyes to the wonder on our children’s faces or the shapes of the clouds overhead? Did we really look to see how green it was? Or feel how warm? Or see how amazing? Did we capture that sunset? Or gaze at that incredible rainbow? Did we watch the leaves sparkle in the wind before they all died and fell to the ground? Because whether you saw it or not, it was green and warm and amazing.
Did we take more pictures in our hearts than on our cameras? Pictures that will last us through the winters and the teenage years and lonely days ahead? Did we catch fireflies in jars like memories or squeeze lemons like sweaty, chubby toddlers? Did we drip ice cream through the farmers’ market and crane our necks to see the burst of fireworks overhead?
This summer is drawing to a close. Every long, glorious, sunny day. Did you raise your hands on the roller coaster or run through the fountain? Did you make a waterpark in your backyard? Did you feed the ducks? Did you take early morning walks through the warm mist or wrap the evening up with s’mores under an orange sky?
Because you won’t get this one back.
Next year they will be older. And the days will be different. And the trees will be just a little taller and the world will spin just a little faster. This summer will be gone forever into the pages of your story. Will it be worth remembering? Not as the greatest summer ever or the most awesome (and expensive) vacation or the coolest time with friends, but just memorable. Was it enough to keep you warm through the winter and keep your love strong through the hard days? Will your children look back and remember the beauty of their childhood summer?
Because when the days are long and slow and warm. When the schedules are set aside and the hurry slows just a degree. We have time to enjoy one another — on purpose. Time to see. And breathe. And stop. Time to hug longer and laugh harder. Time to sit closer. And climb higher.