Summer. It’s almost here. I can tell. Right here. Right now. It has been imprinted forever in my mind since I was very young. The beach flowers, shrubs and grasses give me flashbacks to my first recollection of summers in Quogue, out on the east end of Long Island.
Color! All of those glorious beach visuals…but it's not just color...it’s all of my senses that get triggered….just by seeing this beachy pink I can feel the damp nights by the beach with fog rolling in…the colors of the sky, the water…the feeling of the grainy or velvety sand between my toes or stinging the soles of my feet when it’s unbearably hot, so hot that it makes me want to cry as if I’m stepping on hot coals….salt water in my hair stiffens as my wavy locks begin to dry and the salt water dries in swirls on my skin…
I can hear sea gulls crying and children laughing, a lifeguard blowing whistle and low flying single engine planes occasionally trailing a long sign behind with lettering to invite us to a local festival, waves crashing and spraying…
I breathe in the salt air mixed with Coppertone or coconut, tar drizzled along the beach club road with unmarked parking spots adjacent to the beach grasses, the dry splintered boardwalk and the sandy wooden cabanas at the top of the uneven stairs making their way over and down through the protected dunes….
Sometimes a packed lunch with fine grains of sand in my peanut butter or jam. Lemonade. Water. Relief from the heat. At the end of the day, the wet bathing suits scraping skin with sand as if our gift from the sea.
Clanking metal from our faded mismatched canvas striped beach chairs, pails and shovels and large canvas rafts with rope cords and flip flops are loaded up with wet sand that must be shaken and tapped out before the day is through. Soft terry towels placed on steamy sun baked car seats. Then car doors shut with windows open and kids comparing notes of surf adventures, relaxed grownup voices with real issues being discussed… what’s needed from the local farmstand on the corner and who will shuck the corn and do we have ice and enough lighter fluid and who will jump in the shower first…..
barbecue, music, candles, mosquitoes, darkness, lightning bugs, sweatshirts, badminton or croquet and stories and flop in bed and sleep in sweet fresh cotton sheets…..
And do it all again tomorrow….throughout the whole summer.
All of those vivid memories came rushing in because I saw a little pink at the beach today.
It's just a reminder of all that our kids will remember too. The moments of childhood are fleeting. What kind of summer will your kids have? Will they be booked with camps and to do lists? Will they get to live some of those lightning bug catching moments of our childhood. I'd like to think that we have so many simple pleasures to share with our kids. Things that we can't buy at the store. Places and experiences we can't find on the internet. First of all, we are blessed with the Surf Club in Madison!
Camps offer some great experiences like fine tuning a sport or connecting with kids who have common interests. Camps have coaches and counselors who keep things rolling. We love happy campers!
Making time for no agenda or quick and easy road trips can turn out to be some great family moments or time with cousins and friends...exploring on the beach, a trail or on a dock...catching crabs, collecting shells or counting minnows. Time outside. Time with family. Summer is fleeting. We all have memories of summer traditions. I'm so happy we've created our own simple summer traditions for our family. The best things in life are free or cost very little money.
Some of the best memories are free!
Some of my favorite outdoor mini-trips now and when the kids were little:
Day trip to Watch Hill, RI...my vacation in a bottle day....don't forget to have ice cream at Claire's and have the kids ride the oldest carousel.
Day trip to Misquamicut, RI...the state beach. Also, there are rides, water slides etc.
A quick trip to Gillette Castle, taking the Ct. River Ferry (5 minutes) for the day or for a couple of hours. It's fun and it runs on a relaxed schedule...it's a fun trip...$3.00 each way!
Hallmark Drive-in Ice Cream, Old Lyme
Depending on your sense of adventure...Camping at Hamonasset OR camping in the backyard.....even if camping is intimidating or you prefer room service. There's always what we call Pseudo camping...Hammonasset for one night. Bring dinner or barbeque. Walk on the beach. Camp overnight. Wake up. Go to Dunkin Donuts. Go home and shower. Either way, it's no TV for a night and quiet time under the stars...time together with kids in camping environment...priceless! Do it with another family.
Surprise the kids and go to Lenny and Joes just for the carousel and ice cream!
Old Lyme Pier to walk and watch the fisherman or bring rods and bait to fish. It's fun just to walk on the dock and look at what everyone catches.
Library Book Sale, Scranton Library, Madison, Ct. Give the kids a budget or let them select their books up to a limit....or buy everything and anything. Books are good. It's great to have no limit on books!
Take a trip on the Bridgeport, CT./Port Jefferson, LI Ferry....with friends. Be a walk on
Build a treehouse!
Note: These are just ideas.If any of these are your idea of a nightmare, take a pass. I hope your summer is sweet. It's all in the moments...and moments are fleeting!