Written By: Leslie Means ~ *Note. I just had to share this picture. I’m assuming this was taken at about the age of my girls now. That’s me and my sister Lindsay (Linds is on your left). We are 23 months apart, just like my Ella and Gracie.
Summers during my childhood consisted of one main theme; outdoor adventures. We didn’t have air conditioning growing up, nor did we have more than 3 channels. OK, maybe we had 4 stations on a good signal day.
Not that it bothered me much.
My sister and I kept cool by swimming in our pond or cow tank, running through the sprinklers and sipping cool drinks and Schwan’s orange push pops. We entertained ourselves with outdoor scavenger hunts and long bike rides. At night we would open our old creaky windows and turn our box fans on high to cool down the room. If that didn’t work, we simply settled for a night under the stars in a homemade tent made from sheets tied to the clothes line.
It all sounds like the beginning of a summer novel. Last week I reminisced on those simpler times of the late 80s early 90s and wondered how life has changed so much. Or perhaps the better question would be; how have I changed so much?
Kyle was gone for a few days last week. This meant I was in charge of playing with the girls at night. Don’t get me wrong, I love to play with my girls. But when it comes to outdoor adventures, Kyle usually handles the activities. Admittedly, I would rather watch a movie with them or paint their nails than run around in the back yard.
One evening last night when Kyle was gone, I asked the girls if they wanted to watch a quick movie while I finished errands on line. They agreed and we all sat down for a few minutes of relaxation.
That is until our internet connection went down.
“Mama, turn on Blue’s Clues now!” Ella demanded. Lack of an internet connection meant my girls couldn’t watch one of their favorite programs. It also meant stress for their Mama.
“Now!” she screamed as her younger sister mimicked her actions.
I couldn’t believe how frustrated she was. I scolded her and demanded she sit in timeout until she could calm down. Moments later, I realized I should have been sitting in my own time out.
“Kyle!” I uttered over the phone with anger.
“Something is wrong with our internet connection. I have to finish my work, the girls can’t watch anything. Please fix it.” At least that’s what I’ll let you think I was saying. I was ticked.
Keep in mind at this point he was waiting to board a plane in Omaha. Luckily, he was flying with a good friend who also happens to fix people’s computer issues for a living.
For the next several minutes they walked me through the steps to re-connect my internet. When the connection was re-established I felt relieved and a tad bit ashamed.
“This is pathetic,” I thought to myself. “As soon as I finish my work, we’re headed outside to play!” I told the girls. They were thrilled.
Although we don’t have an entire farm to escape to, we do have a fairly large back yard. They have their pool, a trampoline and enough toys scattered across the yard to make it look like a trashy circus.
“Let’s run in the sprinklers, Mama!” Ella exclaimed. Wanting to appear ‘cool’ like their dad, I decided I would run in the sprinklers with them. There was just one problem. For several minutes I stood in our garage, trying to figure out how to turn the dang things on. Unfortunately, I failed at my attempt.
“Tonight we’ll do something I used to love to do as a kid,” reassuring them and myself as I knew I could figure this one out. “Let’s get a blanket, lie in the grass and look up at the stars,” I smiled with excitement. Yes. That seemed to make them happy too.
Then it started to rain.
“Oh no! We’re going to get wet!” I exclaimed to the girls. Just as I was about to pack up and head inside, I heard giggles of excitement. The rain was light, a mist really, and my girls loved it. They got up from their blankets and began to run.
I ran, too.
For a moment, I could smell that same sweet summer air I ingested so many years ago when I was their age. For a moment, I seemed to go back in time; like that old summer novel before the invention of internet and widespread use of underground sprinkler systems.
For a moment, I felt like a kid again.
**To read more from Leslie, check out her column each Tuesday in the Kearney Hub.
P.S. I just had to share this pic, again. I captured this shot at my sister’s house last Sunday. Ella couldn’t resist one last swing before we left for the night. This too reminds me SO much of being a kid.