I can feel the sun as it warms my skin. I look up to see it dancing between tree branches as they sway with the warm summer breeze. The air is hot and tainted with a little humidity. There’s the smell of dirt and pine trees, grass and flowers. In the distance, I can hear the sound of the creek as it slowly rolls over the rocks and through the twists and turns. It’s only a quick little jaunt from the cabin. My stomach is beginning to turn with excitement as I stand out in the front yard and everyone else begins to drive in. It’s just me and my mom and dad, but soon it will be a much bigger party and soon it will be some of the greatest memories of my lifetime.
When I was a little girl, years before my younger brother was born, we used to drive up towards River Falls where my uncle had a cabin. It wasn’t an every Saturday affair, but we did get together a lot. It was always my dad’s side of the family, his brother and sister and their kids, his aunts and uncles and their kids, and my grandma. We’d get up early and start the drive to the cabin. Mama always made some sandwiches and sweet tea. We packed our swimsuits and an extra change of clothes.
I don’t remember a whole lot about our times at the cabin, just fleeting moments of a time long since passed. A time I’d love to have my children experience, but something that I fear they may never have. Those days shaped a lot of my life and who I’ve become today. They made me appreciate the smaller things and have served as a backdrop to way I’d like to raise my boys. You see, the cabin was where we all got together for some family time and me and my cousins would run through the woods and play, or splash around down in the creek. There was no television and only an old AM radio, but we still had a grand ole time. My dad’s side of the family is full of singers, gospel and bluegrass. I can still remember some of their harmonies as we trekked off to our adventures outside. What a wonderful time we had.
And what I really wish for my boys, is for them to have that same grand time. I wish they had cousins to play with and that their mom and dad came from huge families with tons of brothers and sisters. Back then it was all about family and what you could do together. One of my cousins was my age, just a few months younger, and she was my best friend. I looked forward to the weekends I got to play with her. My sons don’t have that and it makes me sad. It makes me sad that there’s not some huge family adventure to go on together on the weekends. It makes me sad that their memories of their childhood may not be as exciting as mine.
I love to sit back and think about the mischief my cousins and I would get into. Our grandma used to take a hickory after our legs when we’d go dig up her flowers, and try to climb under the house or go down too far into the woods and stumble across an old moonshine still. Those were the good ole days. When summer time rolls around, I’m immediately transported back to a simple time and, man, do I wish my boys could live it.
We live in a subdivision, with cars that drive too fast, and houses so close you can almost hear your neighbors inside their own homes. We don’t live in the country where you ride your bikes a mile or two down the road to see your friends and then you take off into the woods to build forts and climb trees. We’ve become a society much too concerned with parents who NEED to create ways to entertain their kids, or television shows with questionable morals. We’re a society of zero adventure and a society who doesn’t put as much emphasis on family.
I wrote a while back about having a time machine and how I’d love to go back and experience some of the firsts with my boys. Well, I’d take that time machine and load them up in it and let them see the world their mother grew up in. What a world it was.
I’m still a kid at heart and at night I love to show the first star of the night to Davey. I’ve tried to teach him to wish on the star, but he’s still learning that. Last night, I saw the first star and I fell back into the days when I was a little girl, when my daddy used to take a blanket outside and sit with me under the stars, and I made my wish, something I haven’t done in quite some time…
“Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight. I wish I may I wish I might have this wish I wish tonight. I wish for a simpler life for my boys. I wish for them a family that’s as close knit as mine was and a lifetime of memories with that family.”