Reclaiming the Carefree Days of Summer

English: An irrigation sprinkler watering a ga...

Watching two of my young grandchildren play with such complete abandon in the pre-summer afternoon sunshine last Saturday, I longed for the days when summer was unhurried, unstressed, and carefree.  The days when summers weren’t defined by days spent within office walls watching the clock. Or when the most beautiful scenery wasn’t my computer screensaver.

I watched my granddaughter, clad in her little pink and white striped Hello Kitty tankini, her long wavy hair tangled and blowing every which way, smiling from ear to ear as sticky sweet juice from the watermelon she was devouring ran all the way to her elbows.

I watched her little brother, my grandson, so proud of his brand spanking new Spiderman swim trunks his mom brought home for him on her recent trip to Puerto Rico, his bare feet running through the grass, squirting his sister with a squirt gun, laughing.

My husband couldn’t resist the urge to play and began squirting me and his daughter through the open patio door, laughing as we squealed–half from surprise,  half from sheer delight.  Delight at playing.  Something as adults we take too little time to do as we get caught up in what we have allowed to become our life.

It was at that moment I decided to reclaim my summers of the past.  When I took time to play, creating memories that have carried me through too many summers that blurred past in a flurry of “planned” activities and to-do lists.

As the official start of summer arrives this week, I’ve resolved to reclaim my childhood.  I’m going to:

*    Just once–at least–run through a sprinkler.

*    Go on an old-fashioned picnic, complete with blanket, picnic basket, and book, and spend an afternoon by the river.

*    Have a guilt-free entire afternoon reading a good book, lying under a tree–a big oak tree if I can find one.  If for no other reason than the poetic magic of lying under the “big shady oak tree.”

Oak Trees

*    Sit on the porch, awning rolled out, cool glass of lemonade or iced tea by my side, doing absolutely nothing but drink in my  surroundings, whether it be the birds on the feeders, the dog frolicking in the grass, jumping on grasshoppers.Iced tea, popular throughout the U.S.

*    Spend a few evenings reclining on the back patio with a light blanket, a cup of tea, perhaps a candle, and star gaze.

*    Lay on my back in the grass with my grandchildren, using our imaginations to see what shapes we can see in the clouds.

*    At least once a day, practice becoming aware of my thoughts.  Rather than allowing several to tumble around within my head like clothes in a dryer, focus on just one, truly savoring that precise thought at that precise moment.

*    Rather than spend my Saturdays running around, crazy, trying to accomplish everything on my list, only do the things that absolutely have to be done that day and only one other item.  The rest will still be there the next day or the next weekend.  And by then may not even need to be done anymore.

What are some of the things you can do this summer to reclaim, and perhaps even relive,  your childhood summertime memories?  I would love to hear.

Grace to you.

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