“Funny how a melody, sounds like a memory, like a soundtrack to a July Saturday night…” (Eric Church, “Springsteen”)
Oh, Eric. You just stop it with your lyrics.
I don’t know what it is about mid-July that always draws me to a computer screen, a notebook, a napkin…I always have something to say about summer. This season of life that for me, never loses its magic.
I swear I’ve written the same words a thousand times—Reflections of summers past, summer present, and summers to come. Three months of twelve is not a majority of the year (and where I come from, though the calendar might indicate summertime, the weather often protests, leaving us with closer to eight weeks of legitimate sunshine) yet we look to it to provide the vast majority of our memories. Yes, I’ve written these words often. For quite some time, I dedicated my annual June-September musings to my first and only true summer romance. A simple boy with bad tattoos, a drinking problem, little ambition and even less intelligence broke my heart in a way that only a simple boy like him could have. He represented what most eighteen-year-old girls crave, and believe they’ll want forever. Believing I would be the one to settle him down, somewhere knowing that it was actually his recklessness—no, his carelessness that attracted me to him from the start, and would hurt me in the end.
Nearly ten (ohmygod) years and a few more broken hearts later, I can look back on that summer romance as nothing more than just that. I’m married now, to the kind of man that I can confidently say will never be careless with my heart. I’ve lived enough summers between eighteen and today to have learned that all along, I was looking for him.
But still….summer. In the past week or so, I’ve had flashbacks of summer camp and bonfire parties. Out of nowhere, visions of water fights, charred hot dogs, swim team meets, my first (ohmygod) Smirnoff Ice….and also my second, third, and fourth….followed closely by my first hangover. Even in my third summer with my now-husband, I’m recalling our first together and it feels like the distant past. It makes me want to close my laptop and his, lead him to the car, and just drive. With the windows down, country music playing, his arm around my shoulder, I wish we could just drive and drive until we’re far enough away to finally see the stars…Actually, we probably could. More accurately, we probably should.
Maybe it’s because I’m much closer to becoming the mom who drops her kids off at camp than the child who attends, or maybe it’s the awareness that if I live to be hundred, I’ll never stop loving (and even as I live them, already missing) the days that go on forever and the nights that are never too cold.
Summertime, thank you for keeping me warm.