Summer as a kid was the best. There was no school, no homework, zero obligations; life was all about popsicles, sprinklers and lemonade stands. And it. Was. Awesome. Plus it went forever. Isn’t that the best thing about being a kid? How slow time moves? I remember hanging out on the tree swing my dad built in the backyard, swaying back and forth and letting my toes drag little divots through the dirt, thinking August is so far away. I mean, three whole months, how will I ever fill the time?
I always think about being in a kid in summer whenever the first genuinely hot days of the season arrive, and especially around the 4th. Lately, as I try to savor each fleeting day—they seem to pass faster every year—I’ve been thinking about all my favorite parts of summer as a kid.
- Since I already brought it up, the 4th of July. It’s to summer what Christmas is to winter. When I was a kid it meant family reunions; my cousins would visit from New York and it was the only time of the year when we got to see them. We got to stay up late to watch fireworks over Lake Michigan and run around the yard tracing our names into the night with sparklers. We cheered at the silly small-town parade that made its way through the streets of my Midwestern hometown. And we ate hot dogs and hamburgers at Grandma and Grandpa’s house and ran around their gigantic backyard, spraying each other with water guns and jumping through the sprinklers. Which brings me to my next favorite thing.
- Running through the sprinkler. Nothing cuts through a steamy Michigan summer day like an hour spent jumping through the icy spray of a lawn sprinkler.
- Ice cream. So much ice cream. And popsicles too. All with no guilt.
- Eating (SO many) blueberries. The town I grew up in is renowned for its blueberry production (if you’re familiar with Michigan trivia, South Haven is to blueberries what Traverse City is to cherries). My mom would take us kids to a u-pick farm where we would march out into the fields behind her with buckets swinging at our sides and, when we found our row, Mom would start filling hers up with the sweet purple fruit and we would flip ours over to use as stools and start popping ‘em into our mouths. We couldn’t get enough. We would sneak them from the kitchen later too, after Mom had washed them and laid them out to dry on baking sheets lined with tea towels. We would feast on fresh blueberry muffins and warm blueberry crumble all summer long. To this day I crave fresh Michigan blueberries whenever August rolls around.
- Long days at the beach. We lived about two blocks from Lake Michigan when I was a kid and, at least once or twice a week, my brave and ambitious mother would pack up all our beach toys, towels and a cooler full of snacks and haul us down to the beach for an afternoon. We built sandcastles and charged into the water, unafraid of its chill. I still remember that blissful feeling after coming home from day at the beach, after I’d showered and washed off all the sand and sunscreen; heavy and sated from the sun and water. Just perfect.
Thanks, Mom, for sending these photo gems!
What did you love most about summer as a kid?
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