Oh, Summer… I know I complain about you a lot, but I’m trying to remember the days when I looked forward to seeing you. See, I used to not notice the heat here; I was a clueless kid with a pool and a bunch of siblings. The lazy summer days of my childhood were filled with swimming, running through sprinklers, neighborhood-wide games of Darkness Hide and Seek (my polls tell me this is not an actual thing, so for those who didn’t grow up with me, this is just Hide and Seek, but outside at night), and playing Super Mario Brothers until our eyes bled. My sister was the only one of us kids who had a domestic streak, so she would bring us out trays of microwaved burritos that we would eat in the pool. The theory was that if you ate it in the pool, you didn’t have to wait 30 minutes to start swimming again. Ah, childhood…
My favorite summer game was called “Popsicle.” In Popsicle, which is a night-time game, everyone was a popsicle and we all hung out in the front yard running around, wrestling, etc. There was a large blanket spread out in the middle of the yard, and if a car drove by, all the popsicles had to run to get under the blanket so the headlights wouldn’t “melt” us. If you got melted, you were out; if you got under the blanket but the car didn’t turn down our street, you were out. I don’t know how often we actually played Popsicle, but it feels like it was every summer night for years and years of my childhood. I perfectly remember the big, itchy yellow blanket we hid under, with its excessive pilling and vague campfire scent. It’s funny the things we hold onto from childhood.
The reason I’ve been trying to recall happy summer memories is that I’ve got my son here with me all summer, and he’s decided he doesn’t want to go to day camp this year, so he really is here with me. What is he going to remember from this summer? He somehow managed to not get that normal kid quality of being able to ignore the heat, so he doesn’t play outside much during the day; it’s like he inherited my adult intolerance of heat without the bonus 13 years of blissful ignorance. He probably won’t ever have to experience the pain of playing Lava Monster and falling into actual lava (aka the asphalt during the Arizona summer), so that’s a bonus. I just don’t want him to think back to his childhood summers and only remember video games and cartoons.
It has occurred to me that I might just be overthinking this; there is a very real possibility that my summers growing up were nowhere near as fun-filled as I remember them. What if we only ever played Popsicle once and it was just SO FUN that I’ve let that memory cover up the boring days? Maybe all my son will carry with him are the memories of staying up late for days on end to finish all eight of the Harry Potter DVDs. Or maybe he’ll store up enough fun memories on our trip to visit Claire (of Key Lime Pie fame) next month that he’ll look back fondly on this summer as one of the best ever; five days of beaches and Redwoods and amazing food will definitely help me forget this awful heat, so I’m hopeful my kid will hang onto the good stuff, too.
What are your favorite summer memories from childhood? Do you remember the boring days or just the fun ones? I want to hear all about the games you made up as a kid!