It’s 9:30 PM, an hour past their bedtime, and my four oldest children are running around in the backyard with flashlights, playing some sort of “tag” game they made up on the spur of the moment. They are having a blast, and neither Kenny nor I want to call them inside yet, even though the teacher in me is screaming in protest. (They need to get back into the school routine! Early bedtimes! Early wake-ups!)
THIS is what I hope they remember about this summer: playing night games in the backyard; riding the TRAX/Frontrunner from Sandy to Ogden (and back!); swimming in the neighbor’s garbage cans (you’d have to see it to believe it. I’ve seen it, and I barely believe it); sibling sleepovers in the basement; trips to the library; scout camp; four-player video games; movie marathons; bowling and dollar movies with Dad; and the unity that comes with being “the older ones” (even though there is a 7-year range in their ages).
If they remember all these things, maybe they’ll forget how many mornings they were forced to eat cold cereal they poured themselves because I was up all night with a new baby and slept in late (or, worse– how many mornings they chose not to eat breakfast because they *coughHannahcough* couldn’t bear the thought of having cereal one more morning), or the places we didn’t visit because I forgot how all-consuming newborns are and still, after 7 weeks, I just can’t seem to get it together to go anywhere further than the public library (and not even the cool one with the puppet theater and the carousel; and not every week, or even every other week), and– most importantly– just how much time I spent in the rocking chair, feeding their baby brother.
I hope they see it as a season of growth and independence and bonding and love, and happy memories. That when we get together for a family BBQ and they are all grown up, someone says, “Remember the summer when Sam was born?” and someone else says, “Oh, YEAH! That summer was AWESOME! Remember how we used to…?” and they’ll laugh and giggle and make mental notes to do the same things with their young children.
Except for Hannah, who will still be nursing her grudge against Cocoa Puffs.