Making memories that will bring a smile long after carefree summers have been replaced with real life responsibilities
We’re the middle house; if a circle even has a middle I suppose. A tall yellow house on a kind and cozy cul-de-sac. When we bought it, I don’t think I gave much thought to how living in a circle would be such a wonderful thing. My better half and I hadn’t procreated yet, so the extra perks of a street like this didn’t stand out at the time.
Head over heels
The day the keys were handed over, we snuck into the backyard before official closing time and ate breakfast sandwiches on the back deck waiting for our realtor to arrive. Once we got inside I went straight for our master bedroom, where a small walk-in closet made me feel like a queen in my own right. Fast-forward nearly a decade and two kids later, I care a lot less about the closet and I’ve fallen head over heels for the circle my children are growing up in.
The winters are quiet mostly. We casually mention how we haven’t seen so and so in a while or how big the snow pile in the centre of the street has gotten. The sun is on her compressed schedule, leaving us in the dark before suppertime. Not to mention slop snow with a side of freezing cold temperatures tend to keep most people inside for the evening.
But when the snow melts and that mess of muck of fog we call spring finally moves on, this place truly comes alive. Bikes and trampolines, water guns and bouncy castles; basketballs, scooters and a rainbow of chalk markings from fence to sidewalk. The ice cream truck makes its rounds, playing that little song that stops kids in their tracks, as they run home frantically looking for money from mom and dad.
Children being free
I always laugh when I see them scatter and spread out towards their houses, shrieking with excitement. I remember the feeling so well, except when I was a kid my ice cream truck was just a freezer on a bike frame that was peddled around town by a summer-job-weary teenager. It was called “Dickey-Dee” and man did we run like the wind when saw it coming down the street.
It’s the best kind of street to leave your windows open, because for most of the summer you’ll hear the sounds of children being as free as they are supposed to be. Sure, there are a few cries too, after bike wipeouts, elbow scrapes and arguments over whose the cop and whose the robber. But mostly it’s just that soul cleansing sound of belly laughter and ecstatic cheers after a ball passes through the net. They come home with grass stains on their pants, dirt under their finger nails and endless scrapes to the knees. Good night kisses smell like sunscreen and fresh air as your nose passes their little foreheads before turning out the light.
I am never as happy to be here as I am for these few sun-soaked months, when everything feels just a little sweeter. No school runs or packed lunches that come home mostly uneaten. No anxiously awaiting report cards or emails from teachers. And even on the days when they’re driving you completely bonkers and you wish the school doors would open, you understand how important the break is.
A time for them to run barefoot through sprinklers and stay up past their bedtimes. To burn off that boundless childhood energy with less pressure to make the grade and more freedom to make a memory; memories that will bring a smile long after carefree summers have been replaced with real life responsibilities.
You soak in the hazy summer days that slowly turn into warm summer evenings. Rogue bubbles from the house below breeze by as barbecues fire up and a cold one or two is cracked. A steady flow of music floats in between the houses as radios play a hearty list of summer favourites from the back deck. Bad days and uncertain futures weigh a little less for just a minute and for however long It lasts, you’re thankful for it.
Calls for bedtime bounce around the street, mostly met with ‘but it’s still light out!’ And you give them those few precious extra minutes.
It isn’t long after finally laying down on their pillows that eyes close and dreams begin. And before long, up comes the sun and it all begins again. September will come soon and bring with it all the things we need to do, but for now it’s just this circle, a bit of sunshine and the children of summer.
So here’s to the season of bubbles and bees and to all those who run wild and free. Our house is in the middle of our street and my heart is there with it.