Monday, May 30, 2011

Let The Games Begin

Memorial day has always been the welcome sign for summer. The long weekend that heralds in the steamy summer days, and closes the door on another long winter. With the thermometer climbing to the high 80's, and the boys peeling off layers of clothes and leaving a trail of them in their wake, I would definitely say that summer is here.

Our feet are blackened from many barefoot trips around the yard and down the driveway, chasing bugs and pushing cars. I have tan lines from my flip flops and a pale white line where I wear my wedding ring. Wyatt's legs are scratched and bruised, and dirt has become a staple in Ben's diet.

If there is one upside to the long dark, stale winters of Alaska, it's the contrast that it adds to the long, endless summer days. With their warm breezes and exploding bursts of colored blooms decorating flower boxes and roadsides, the summers here serve to recharge and refresh. To remind one, why they live in this last great state, and why even though every year in the dead of winter we beg to move, the following winter we are still here. There is really no place that I would rather spend my summers.

We are looking forward to some new adventures with the boys this summer as well. Next weekend Justin and I will be taking the boys on their first camping trip. (finally!) Wyatt has been begging, in his sweet syrupy voice, to go fishing. He's pretty sure that he's going to catch some big red gooey fish - we'll see about that.

Wyatt is so independent these days, and has an imagination that I'm envious of. He is always asking to go shopping while we play in the front yard (which consists of taking Ben's walker, his shopping cart, to the fire hydrant down the street), but he asks that I please wait behind. And as our quiet little street fills with kids seeking summer fun in the evening, I start to hear Wyatt ask "please Mommy, my friends come over and play?" And usually before I even say yes, we have three or four neighbor kids, kicking their shoes off on our driveway, playing with Wyatt like they are best friends, despite the 3-7 year age gap between all of them and Wyatt. Last night, it was breezy and warm and storm clouds loomed on the horizon. But the air was still hot and the sun bright, so we filled up the little pool and picked the perfect spot for the sprinkler and like that was invitation enough, our yard was full with kids. I love that our neighborhood kids accept and play with Wyatt and make him feel included without even a second thought.

My favorite part of the evening occurred after wild water fight, when his friend Riley, soaking wet, walked two houses down to retrieve her towel. She came back several minutes later, plastic neon pink heels clacking against the sidewalk as she approached, and a fluffy chenille bathrobe tied around her waist. Five, going on thirty, what a cute sight to see!

And Ben - his little legs just can't move fast enough. He is chasing after his brother, back and forth across the yard, stopping to bark at the people passing by on the sidewalk. At first it was a little embarrassing to have my 11 month old son grip the chain link with his chubby little fingers, and press his porcelain skin against the fence and let out a deep throaty bark, again and again. But, now, I love it. I love his little quirky ways, like how he sticks out his tongue when he is excited about anything. He will walk across the room in hot pursuit of a toy, his tongue out as far as it will go, drool dripping off the end in a slow steady way. His tongue can't hide his excitement, and neither can his smile, always from ear to ear. I wonder if this will stay true as he ages, will he always wear his heart on his sleeve. I love to think how their personalities at this age with carry through to the teenage years and beyond.

I also hope, that some of the friendships that my boys have now, will go the distance. That these wonderful friendships that they are so lucky to be in, will be the same friends who they go to parties and prom and football games with. I have several friends who I went the distance with. And those friendships are so fulfilling and wondrous, I can only hope that my boys can have the same.

So as Memorial ushers in Summer, and I wipe the sweat of my forehead, drink a sip of ice cold beer and survey my surroundings. I ask quietly, for this summer to drag by, and that I enjoy and soak in every second of it, because in Alaska, it's always gone too soon.


Emily said...

I'm jealous that you guys have had such nice weather. It's been raining here for the past month, with temperatures in the 50's and 60's. Fortunately today sunny and in the 70's. I know I shouldn't complain about the cool weather; soon it will be in the 90's and this human incubator in my stomach will make me a little too warm, but oh well.

Cat said...

Great pictures- sounds like you're kicking off summer right!

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