I was fine, until I walked into the backyard and saw the little blue pool sitting there…empty. The blue ‘shark’ was empty also; his days of bubble making were suddenly suspended. It was Thursday morning, very early, early enough to hear the morning birds and tranquil enough to know the neighborhood woodpecker was very busy having breakfast. Most importantly, it was the morning that followed the summer visit from my little Texas family, William, Lorena, Doris, Cami and Santiago. They most always come in summer. While they are here, I somewhat ‘check out’ of the real world and try to absorb all that I can that is ‘them’. Now, they also bring a little boy, my grandson, Santiago.
He played with toys from the attic, helped me feed the chickens, pointed to the trees (he lives in Midland, so the tall trees are somewhat of an oddity to him), strolled on our quiet street, sang songs on the swing, waved to the friendly lady in the yellow school bus, and swam in a little blue pool. It was four wonderful days of the manifestation of a parent’s reward…grandchildren.
Today, the toys will find their way back into the attic, the highchair will go back upstairs, and the little blue pool will become a happy place for my two little ducks to enjoy this summer…my everyday life will move on, but it will be enriched, and the rich memories will linger.
I begin this unofficial “Memorial Day’ column with this beautiful, yet tender, personal experience to emphasis how touched we all are by the people we love. We are happy to be with them, for they fit so nicely in our world, and we are sad when they go away. The sweet little experience I describe is something felt by many grandparents, especially those whose grandchildren and children live far away. It is difficult, but we know there will be another summer, another visit, another time, and another little blue pool…not so for the families who have lost loved ones in service to our country.
This solemn day that society has somewhat reframed as ‘the first official day of summer’, is an honored national holiday. Trips to the seashore and backyard BBQs are all gloriously American…beautiful days filled with fun, family, and freedom... and while enjoying time off, and anticipating ‘all that is summer’, I hope we always remember those who made this freedom possible.
I end with a ‘reset’…my days of summer are ahead of me, and God willing, I will pick a few more blackberries as I watch the rabbit from the woods scurry quickly from the briar bush when he hears me, I will wake up early to hear the morning birds call for their mates, and water my garden. On sunny days, I will occasionally hang the wash out to dry and I will always have clean water for my baby ducks in Santiago’s little blue pool.