Friday, June 21, 2013

First Day of Summer

June 21st marks the beginning of the summer season! That long awaited time of year to be outside playing. That time of vacation, friends, smores over the fire, and catching lightning bugs. The time when both of my boys are anxious to get out there and start the fun.

The sun is shining. The sky is blue. The birds are out there making noise. There is a very nice amount of wind to keep things from getting too hot. So why is there no one outside and my boys are insisting on staying indoors?

Growing up for me meant being outside as much as possible, unless it was too hot. Or the boys would bother my girl friends and I. We'd be out for the majority of the day and we would be forced to come inside for lunch. Once that last bite was stuffed into our mouths, it was out that door like lightning!

Riding our bikes, playing all sorts of girlish imaginative games and often quite unimaginative sorts of things as well. We'd play house, Dukes of Hazzard where I was always Bo and Luke Duke for some reason. Maybe because I was always the tallest and guys are "always" taller than girls, at least in our young girlish eyes. We would torture my brother and his friends, which was always a good time for us girls.

We would go on adventures to the creek down the road and climb the fallen tree over to the "island" and be pirates, princesses left on the island to fend for ourselves, English Ladies on the ship taking us to far off places and many other games and adventures.

There were 2 problems with the island. The first is that it was accessible from land as long as you were wanting to wade in the ankle-deep water that was filled with cow poo, or were very good at the long jump. The second is this island was not quite big enough for 3 young girls to crowd on it together and have any space to move, unless one of us would sit on the branches of a tree.

Being young, it didn't bother us unless were aboard ship.  That became an issue because two of us had to be the crew and the last was always playing some sort of girly-girl, meaning she couldn't get dirty, wet or work. This usually meant that our adventure had come to a quick end and we would begin the adventure of getting off the island. This usually involved the youngest of our group falling into knee-deep water, terrified that she was going to drown. Being a most tomboyish girl there, I would go to the rescue. Sounds pretty daring and adventurous until you factor in that the fallen tree was only 2 feet above the knee-deep water of a girl and just a helping hand to "gently" force the girl to stand up. At this point, our conversation would nearly always end in an argument over where the drowning was actually an accident or on purpose.

On purpose. Just two little words that were completely filled with deep meaning for us children growing up. "Mom, _____ hit me... on PURPOSE" would come the cry. The rest of us would hold our breath, waiting for the outcome of this "new development." Another cry would be, "Mooooommmmm! _______ broke my toy... on PURPOSE!"

One of my favorite parts of the summer was vacation. In my family, this meant having campfires. We loved to sit around a campfire at night, dressed with as much skin covered as possible to keep the bugs off, which usually was only a slight deterrent. My mom and I would come back from our camping trip looking like we had some weird, funky disease that caused multitudes of red and pink splotches with a little bubble in them. (We don't' take too well to skeeter bites.)

Another favorite is catching lightning bugs at night. We'd search out as many as we could literally get our hands on to fill a too-large jar, that we had no realistic chance of filling with these bugs, even if it took all summer. But, try it we did. Every. Single. Summer.

Growing up and always outside in the summer, makes it very hard for me to figure out kids today. More times than not they are inside playing video or computer games. What is wrong with being outdoors? Even in the winter, we'd be outside playing all sorts of games and things in the snow. I realize that snow is something that is needed in the winter to play the plethora of snow games that we used to, so that does factor in. But summer? When and why did our childhoods of being outdoors turn into the new childhood where being indoors was more fun?

Drop me a comment below and let me know your thoughts. Seriously, what is so bad about being outside? Driving around, I see less and less children playing outdoors. If you have a big of a peeping-Tom in you, if you peek quickly - and innocently - into the main windows of the house, you can usually find at least one child playing inside the house.

God bless you, enjoy his beautiful summer days that he has created for us!