My summers growing up in a small town bring back so many memories. I remember the long lazy afternoons I spent at home with my siblings and my mom, a teacher who had her summers off with us, seeing my dad when he would stop in the house between his work on our family farm. I remember filling the pool up in the backyard and spending all day in and out of it, the water hot by the end of the day after sitting in the sun. I remember fun evenings complete with softball, ice cream and a late dip in the town pool before it closed for the night. I remember going to watch my brother play baseball, and running around with my friends who had brothers on his team, never actually seeing a pitch. I remember the dark suntan that covered my skin over the course of the summer and long days spent outside.
I remember it as being blissful.
It’s different for my kids. We live in a big city. My husband and I work full-time so summer months and winter months don’t have much to differentiate from each other, especially since they aren’t school age yet. Summer evenings aren’t quite the same. Work in the morning means we’ll all be up early and the boys off to daycare, so summer bed times are early (usually). Weekends are the only time we get to spend those long days of nothing, enjoying our short time together before it’s back to the workweek. My kids just have it different, and sometimes it’s tough to realize that they won’t have what I had.
I love living in the city, but I especially love how lucky we got that our street is filled with amazing neighbors, other parents with kids in similar scenarios as ours. Some come from my small town beginnings and understand what my summer life used to be like, others have never had small town summer memories like mine. They help me to understand their experiences and the great memories their summers once held. Summer programs that took them to see all of the cool attractions around the city, time spent with friends in summer camp, farmer’s market trips on Saturday’s with their Mom, baseball/softball/soccer seasons spent playing into the night.
I have begun to see it more and more often, as my kids are getting older. There are many differences between the way that we are raising them versus the way that we were raised. But some things have stayed the same, church every Sunday and family meals at the table. Others are different, evenings spent playing with neighbor kids while the parents look on and impromptu trips to the zoo or the museum.
While I sometimes feel sad that my kids aren’t having the small town experience I had, I look at their smiling faces and realize that the memories we are making will be just as important to them someday. It’s up to my husband and myself to make those lasting family memories for them to pass onto to their families. It might be different, but I hope they look back and love remembering their summers growing up in the city, just as I love remembering mine in my small town.