My years don’t go from birthday to birthday in my head. Yes, I’m obviously acutely aware that another year has passed when my birthday comes but I’m that way at Christmas, New Years, Easter, and Thanksgiving as well. I’ve always had problems with change and growth. There are just some things I don’t want to change. Well, that feeling gets intensified during the summer – magnified, even, by at least 100.
Summer smells like childhood. Like simplicity. It smells like camping trips to the beach and new plastic pool toys. It reminds me every year that I don’t ever get back those days when we ran around our neighborhood until at least 9 o’clock or rode home from an event laying down in the back of my dad’s pick up watching the sky fly by. It smells like long drives down country roads with all the windows rolled down and like cut grass at dusk. Summer reminds me that my children are growing older and so am I and that instead of me being fascinated by small wonders, they are. In itself this is wonderful as I love to see my girls explore and discover new things that I’ve long since known about. But during this time of year, I am especially aware that I’ve known about them for many years now. And every time I take my girls to the pool – not just any pool, mind you, but the pool I actually grew up going to – summer smells like swimteam practice and chlorine, July 4 celebrations, and cake walks. Summer smells especially like the ocean. While as a child, we generally only went for a week once a year (or the odd Saturday) as a family, I’m so very fond of the ocean. My mom and dad and I often collected seashells, many of which we still have. They were a constant reminder in our home of the ocean and the time we spent there as a family….along with the fifty million pictures my dad took. As a matter of fact, we still have many of those shells even today. I think part of my fondness comes in that the ocean is fairly consistent and always there. It doesn’t change much (at least to the naked eye). It smells the same every year. It looks mostly the same every year. And hence, it’s something that remains of my childhood.
There’s a verse from a song running through my head, “We grew up way too fast. Now there’s nothing to believe, and reruns all become our history.” Summer months remind me that I don’t believe in the Easter bunny and that Santa Claus really only exists in spirit (not like the Holy Spirit). It reminds me that I’m a grown up. And honestly, while there’s many many things I love about being an adult, my childhood (mind you, not my teenhood) was awesome and some days I’d give anything to have it back. To me, there are cases where ignorance is bliss. Childhood is one of them.
Time goes on forever. You don’t have to pay bills. You’re unaware of the atrocities of this world (well at least many of us were), but you’re aware enough to enjoy the wonders of it. So let me go on reminiscing about my childhood and basking in nostalgia for a few brief moments before reality sets in. Since I got up early, I might as well take in a breath of summer smells and seashells.
Picture by Dad