Thursday, June 27, 2013

On Summer and Childhood

My beautiful girl was born on the cusp of summer, on a day I can only assume was hot and sticky, full of sunshine and steam.  The very best time of year to be born (from a child's perspective), in my opinion, based on the experience of having been a child once myself.  My own birthday was right smack dab in the middle of summer, at a time when I can only feel pity for my poor, pregnant mother who must've endured nearly two months of misery as she carried me to term all those years ago. 

Summer was very special to me, the very best time of the year to have a birthday party, and each year brought some sort of outdoor festivities, usually in my yard, or at a local lake.  And somehow we often managed to have an ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins, in the shape of something I loved (usually a cat), that miraculously stayed un-melted in the summer sun until the last delicious spoonful hit my mouth.  Summer was a time of the dreaded YMCA day camp, academic enrichment programs, wreaking havoc with my cousins, who lived nearby.  Visits to the beach were plentiful, memories of my grandmother insisting that I wash all the sand and sea from my body thoroughly with the shockingly cold water from the outdoor hose before entering her house, dinners there consisting of the flounder my grandfather had caught that morning, fresh, translucent, sweet, local Silver Queen corn on the cobb and beautiful, shiny, fat, blood-red, beefsteak tomatoes sliced and eaten with nothing more than a sprinkle of salt.

As I entered high school, summers became a much-feared time of drama and self-consciousness, of melting make-up, temperatures too hot to sleep (as teenagers must), and the irrational fear of showing my horribly ugly, mal-formed knees (not really, but that's what I thought...), something fairly unavoidable as temperatures rose. 

And, thankfully, that eventually passed.  Summers once again became enjoyable, never more so than when I had my own little mini-me to introduce to the world.  Samantha's first summer was spent indoors, sheltering her from the heat as she struggled to maintain her body temperature, before the life-saving surgery to correct the hole in her heart was performed.  Samantha's subsequent summers have been full of playdates and pools, playgrounds and beaches, butterflies, blueberry picking and car trips to visit family and friends. 

I mourn the end of this summer already, just a mere 6 days beyond the solstace that marked its beginning, wishing there would be more time for all of the things I want to plan with my girl.  The summer is full, our weekends nearly booked, my commitment to minimizing ennui and making the season special for her in full-swing.

This was part of the Down Syndrome Blogs blog hop for June!



Leah said...

So sweet. Perfect. That's what summer should be all about.

miradoro1 said...

Very nice, Becca. You paint a beautiful picture. Oh, and for the record, the hospital you were born in had no A/C... :-)

Lisa said...

My girls are living the summer dream too - playing outside with no thoughts of heat and swimming daily. I have to say this the one time a year I really hate being a working mom and missing so much of it.

Jenny said...

Sweet pictures...Summer is never quite long enough is it!

Kerri Ames said...

That first picture of Samantha brought a smile to my face. This is such a sweet post and I think it is funny that now as an adult you want to apologize to your mom for making her endure the summer months while pregnant with you :)