What Happened This Summer


This is the summer their bikes turned into horses.

They lined them up and fed them. They escaped from the bad guys on them. They gratefully received them from their dying father and survived as orphans on his gift of two horses and a book about herbs. (Viv’s storyline, not mine. I told her, “Now those are gifts a girl can live off of!” She nodded, knowingly.)

This is the summer when playing outside took on a life of its own and they begged to stay out until lunch time, and begged to go out again as soon as their half-a-PB&J sandwich and apple slices were gobbled up. This is the summer when they didn’t mind the heat so much, or the rain so much, or the bugs or dirt or wind.

This was the summer I wandered around, thinking, hmm… well then, I guess I’ll pull out some of these weeds in this flower bed over here… and, hmm… well, then, I guess I’ll just, ah, sit here?  and rock the baby on the porch… and, hmm… I guess I’ll just start writing some more, because I think this is okay, right?

This is it! They’ve blossomed into that moment in childhood – into what it really means to “play outside”.  It took me a moment, but I learned that it’s okay that I’m not riding one of the horses, or helping with the storyline, or even in their minds at all! The long hours of childhood are upon them and they are drenched with imagination and exploration. May they not come in until they are plenty old and their horses are graying and well-loved.