Friday, June 27, 2008

Indiana Summer

So, the weather is finally muggy. God love the midwest and its muggy-ass summers!

Husband and I were walking to work yesterday from the train, and we were both sweating our respective parts off, when it dawned on me that before I became an adult, I used to LOVE this weather.

I used to love the sweaty feeling of summer days, and the cooler (yet still humid) weight of summer nights. But, something has changed... oh, I remember, I've changed because I no longer get to enjoy it like I did. I am what is oftentimes called "a grown-up" and in many respects this is a good thing: I get to live without my parents, and drink alcohol. I get to order pizza whenever I want. I get to stay up late and watch whatever movies or TV shows I want. AND, I have the added bonus of living with a boy full time. Joy!

BUT, I miss summer vacation. I miss the feeling on the last day of school when everyone would sing that Alice Cooper song while walking down the hallways towards the exits. I miss that feeling of having the whole glorious summer ahead of me. I miss jumping off the bus at my stop and thundering down the street towards my house for the last time that year with all the carefree joy and abandon that my heart could possibly hold.

Mostly, I think back to long days at our neighborhood pool. I was lucky enough to grow up in a awesome subdivision. We had a big lake in the center where we could go fishing, tons of kid-friendly sidewalks to ride our bikes on, and a glorious pool (complete with a deep end and diving board) that was open to residents anytime, day or night. We'd pretty much go there every day, all day - even when it was cloudy. And we'd stay until our bodies got tired or the need for a mom-made sandwich drove us back onto our bikes and back home.

Even with all the daytime swimming, we were not satisified. And sometimes, at night, when dinner was over, our Dad would agree to take us back for a nighttime dip. I am confident that even when I am old and gray, I will look back on those precious times as some of the happiest of my life, and most certainly, I will look back to those times and remember my father incredibly fondly. He is an excellent swimmer. He was actually a lifeguard as a teenager, and he would delight us with incredible feats of underwater swimming, and allow us to climb onto his back and be a passenger on some of his trips below the surface.

Afterwards, we'd tumble home in the dark and rinse the chlorine from our bodies and hair and climb into warm pajamas. Even now, my nostalgia is no match for my incredible need to provide these kinds of memories to my children (which I will hopefully have someday). They're so precious. Those moments in life that elevate you and open you up to happiness are the most treasured possessions anyone can have. In spite of all the shit that we have to go through everyday, in spite of all the times Husband or I feel trapped or depressed or futile, I always have memories like that to go back to.

So, when the man's got me down, and the checking account balance is surprisingly low, and work sucks, and I look around and realize how far I still have to go, I just think about summer vacation. I think about the quiet beneath the water and the way it felt to joke with my sisters while we rode our bikes to our favorite spot. I think about my Dad's smile when he'd climb up the side ladder after a perfect dive. I remember us. And it never fails to give me back some of what adulthood takes.

Just a little good, old-fashioned joy. No responsibilities. No impending collapse. No worries.

Just us, a pool, and a summer to spend by it.


midwest princess said...

that was beautiful. and that is exactly what i'm doing this week -- reliving those carefree days at the pool! can't wait to see you thursday!