Summer is in full swing here at The Burrow. We started with visits from various aunts, uncles, and cousins on the Dragon side of the family as soon as school let out. Literally – I took the girls to climbing class the afternoon of their last day of school, and before I could fight my way home through the crosstown rush-hour traffic, my sister and her three children had broken into my house and tamed my vicious guard dog. Well, not really. They entered through the front door using the security code I had given them, and the dog tried to jump up and lick all their faces. Still. A couple of days later we met up with my brother and his wife and Dog Who Is Too Big To Be Allowed at the cottage, and had another few days of easy back-and-forth with them.
After a fun few days of visiting, our company all went home and our we went back to our usual unscheduled summer. Around here summer is relaxed and easy. The kids sleep late and eat when they want. Summer is when the neighbourhood kids reconnect after a long school year of busy-ness and attending separate schools, but it’s also a time for longer and deeper playdates with friends they only get to see for a few hours at a time during the school year. The kids and their friends play on bikes, scooters, the trampoline, swingset, and run around the neighbourhood. In our yard they jump in and out of the pool; in their friends’ yards they run through the sprinkler or play on a slip and slide. Sometimes I find them sitting in a cool bedroom reading books together, or sitting on the porch doing crafts. I dispense lemonade by the gallon, and every few hours I set out food – a plate of watermelon wedges, a tray of sandwiches, a box of popsicles. Whichever children happen to be here help themselves as they run past. I never seem to have all of my own children here at once, but I never seem to have fewer than two or three children here at a time, either.
I hope they never forget what it feels like to wake up in the morning with nothing they have to do and a whole world of things they can do. I hope they remember this time with smiles, and never stop trying to re-create this feeling of total freedom. That’s what summer is all about for a kid, isn’t it? Glorious, glorious freedom.