Summer...a word that I used to attribute to pure happiness. It was a time of freedom from school that allowed for adventures, travels, and memorable experiences shared with loved ones. The years go by though and summer eventually becomes less of what it used to be, transforming itself into merely just another season that is no different than the rest (except for being consumed by Arizona's scorching hot death rays on the daily). This beloved season has been overtaken by difficult college classes, working and attempting to earn money, and performing a balancing act with all the responsibilities this world has to offer.
There are those rare occasions though, where you can just breathe and have a day away from those brutal tasks. Those days where for a brief yet enjoyable moment, it feels like summer again and that happy giddy summer feeling comes back, radiating across my face as it once did when I was 10 years old.
It's in these moments that I am reminded to hang onto these experiences that are happening now because they are rare and will be ones I look back on in the years to come just as I still do with my summer memories as a kid. It's these memories that were formed long ago that help gets me through the overwhelming stress of this summer class or allow me for a moment, to escape from the reality of my responsibilities.
It was just the other day when I was sitting and having a staring contest with the homework assignment on my screen that I thought back to the Missouri summers I loved and miss so much...
I took myself back to the days when grandma and grandpa would pick me and my sister up from the airport for our long-awaited summer reunions. It was on the long drives to their house that Dana and I would gawk out the window in awe as we took in the foreign scenes of greenery and bunnies. When we pulled up in the drive we'd race to the door to choose which room we'd get for the week and every time we ran in we were invited by the smell of grandma's homemade cookies. We'd spend our days building linking log houses for our stuffed animals or sewing outfits for them with grandma.
We would often sit on their porch with our drawing pads and colored pencils as we sketched all the beauty from their backyard. It was in that same yard we'd explore and play, and learn to cast a line before grandpa took us out on the lake to go fishing. It was here we baited our first hook, caught our first fish, and grilled it up for a summer dinner enjoyed outside on the deck.
As night fell, we'd go out and catch fireflies with the neighborhood kids, the same kids who over the years became our friends who we'd go swimming with and ride bikes alongside. And as it became too dark to see, the light from the stars and the fireflies led us back to the house where we'd join grandma and grandpa just in time for the wheel of fortune where we'd make silly guesses at the tv and laugh at how off we were.
It was these summers I love and hold so tight too. From visits at grandma and grandpas to spending the fourth of July with family just a few hours away. From the wildflower bracelets, we'd make with our cousin and aunt, to the adventures of building forts in the woods and being inches away from a baby deer with a girl I still call a dear friend. To the homemade ice cream, camping trips, and early morning drives back to the airport and hugs goodbye... all of it brings me back and makes this summer, though filled with time-consuming responsibilities, feel more like what summer used to be to me and it's these memories that make all the difference.
The years go by and the seasons change but the memories made will always remain the same. They can be your safe place, a breath of fresh air, allowing for a moment to recharge despite the craziness of life. I encourage you in those moments where nothing feels the same or you're missing how it use to be, take a minute to remember and enjoy those memories made but also hang tight to the ones you're making right now at the moment.