Life is a memory in the making

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Summer vacation is almost here.

And I'm so excited, I can barely stand it.

It's been many years since the advent of summer vacation has mattered.

But this year, I find myself daydreaming of those first few days of freedom, the days stretching out before me, with routine thrown to the four winds and the whim of the moment claiming each day.

As I remember it, through the fog of many years, summer vacation seemed endless at its beginning. It didn't matter what day of the week it was, weekend days were no different than week days, and the clock on the wall may as well have stopped running, because time itself was irrelevant. After all, it was summer. Green grass, warm water, fluffy clouds painting murals in the sky, stars at night providing a dot-to-dot map of heaven.

Summer. Can any other word better capture the essence of childhood?

This is my 55th summer on planet Earth. Only a select few stand out in my memory. The summer of 1962, my seventh, was spent on the family farm in Albion, Iowa. The summer of 1965, the year of the big flood along the Platte River, was also the summer we lived on Denver's Capitol Hill. The summer of 1971 is forever memorable because that's when Danny and I, for all intents and purposes, joined hands to walk through all of our remaining summers together. (I never wanted that summer to end.) And of course, the summers of 1975, 1979 and 1980, when God graced us with our children have memories unique to each child. (The summer of 1979 was memorable also for the endless camping trip we embarked on when Danny worked west of Vail, helping to build a golf course for the rich and very likely famous. Of course, we were long gone before any of them happened by. There was the small matter of Lisa's birth to tend to.)

Here come the days of summer and with them, our Colorado granddaughters, Haili, 9, and Maddy, 7. Imagine! An entire week of sleeping in after staying up late to look at the stars at night. An entire week, with walks around the park to feed the geese and afternoons watching the parade of cloud animals march across the sky. There'll be fingernails to paint, hair to braid, stories to share and secrets to treasure. The crystal blue waters in the swimming pool will beckon and menu favorites will be the order of the day.

We can't wait. Ever since we became grandparents, we've been waiting for the grands to get old enough to spend time with just us.

We'll introduce them to the joys of secret shopping, and the simple pleasures of round-robin reading. We'll take turns saying "thank-you" for every simple gift and each special gift given. We will answer every question they ask, no matter how many times they repeat it.

Two new flower beds needs attention. We'll just take the girls to the nursery and let them choose the flowers. Then we'll get down on our knees and shove dirt so far under our fingernails they'll have to grow out to get clean again. After they go home, I'll send pictures, so they'll see how well the Lord grows what is planted with gratitude, hope and love.

Maybe it'll rain and we'll be trapped inside. We'll escape upstairs and build a tent city from sheets and blankets, sipping and sharing invisible tea with my collection of stuffed animals while the rain patters above us.

We'll haul out the file drawer of family snapshots and let them choose the ones they want to start their own collection of memories, telling every tale, even the ones their parents don't want them to hear.

Summer. An enchanted time. A time when everything seems possible and the possibilities themselves are endless. No one can predict the direction of conversation, carried along on the whim of a moment not yet arrived or how the memories will form, but memories are made while life is yet lived, and next week, we will live out the Summer of 2010.

"Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them." Deuteronomy 4:9 (NIV)

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