When I think back to the summers of my youth, there are certain images that float immediately to my mind…Balmy summer nights, when the sound of chirping crickets drown out all other noise in the darkness while my sister and I camped out with our neighbors in their play house. Walking barefoot through the damp blades of grass at dusk catching lightening bugs with my mom and dad, then storing those seemingly magical creatures for just a few precious minutes in wooden bug houses my Grandpa Dit crafted. Taking long leisurely bike rides with my two best neighborhood friends, every once in a while pausing to chat with a boy we all had a crush on. Running up and down our street in the warm summer sunlight, as a lively game of capture-the-flag was underway. I have no doubt these memories will stay with me for my lifetime, for these are the moments that define summer for me in my mind.
Ever since having children, I find myself thinking about what little images will be held in their minds for the duration of their lives. After spending time in the Northwoods of Wisconsin last week, I can unequivocally say these Northwoods-memories will stay with my girls forever. For what could be better than a breakfast cooked on the beach? Or jumping off the dock at least a hundred times, never tiring because it fills you with the most thrilling feeling each and every time your body pauses for that brief moment in the air before plunging into the cool waters below? Or crunching your toes in the damp sand as the refreshing water waves over them? Or having your parents feed you bits of food in the lake because you refuse to get out of that amazingly fun water for even a second? Or dancing on a stage with your cousins while a Tom Petty song plays, without a care in the world that dozens of grown-ups are watching you, wishing they could embrace the wild abandon running through every fiber of your being? These are the moments I am sure my girls will carry with them, for this is what summer memories are made of.