Our front flower bed is looking even more amazing as the days go by. Our hill garden is coming alive with more color each day and I grow anxious waiting for everything to be in full bloom. This is definitely one of the many signs of summer. A few evenings ago, we had a bonfire and Angelina discovered "lightening bugs" for the first time....another sign of summer - the warm evenings with children chasing after lightening bugs. I can remember the days when I was the one running around squealing after the luminescent insects in the dark heat of those summer nights.
I have started thinking about how things will start to change each year, as my children get older and start discovering things; as their unknowing innocence gives way to investigative curiosity. I just realized the other night how it has already crept in, my daughter getting older to that stage where she is really soaking up her surroundings and starting to question the world. Watching her as she chased after the lightening bugs, asking us questions about what they are and what they do really hit it home for me. This summer, she will notice more bugs, more flowers, nature in general; things she didn't really care about last year. And the questions will pour out like cake batter.
I feel as though it is my duty as my children's mom to take every opportunity to teach them something. The summer months are a good place to find such opportunities. The world seems a little bit slower this time of year and there are so many things that offer wonderful learning experiences for these observant and inquisitive children. From our front yard to our backyard and the world beyond, there are so many possibilities to teach our children about nature, about life, about God, about people...about anything their little minds desire. And maybe even to be taught some things myself!
I am hopeful for this year's summer months. I know it will be the first of many summers when my kids learn new things and have a lot of the same experiences that I did as a child. I remember discovering slugs and ants and one of my siblings educating me on how to kill them (salt and the deadly duo of a magnifying glass and the sun never seemed so criminal). I can remember sitting in the grass with my sisters and eating cherry popsicles, tying dandelions together into bracelets as the sticky sweetness of the frozen treats melted down our fingers. And I remember my mom turning on the hose to spray us as we ran by, a welcome refreshment from the heat of July. Rolling "potato bugs" into a ball and watching them uncurl themselves, climbing trees at the near-by park and coming home with sap all over our clothes and face and hands...This is the stuff that life is made of, the memories we play out in our minds long after we have made them and the learning experiences we soak up like the summer sun on a hot June day.
As nostalgia sets in from my own memories of summers past, I start to think about the different things we can do this summer to expand the horizons of my children's minds as well as allowing for their own sweet memories to be created. I'd like to think that even though my daughter is just shy of 4 and my son only 2, perhaps somewhere down the road, in their adult minds they will remember a little of the first summers of their life or even just learning and growing and experiencing them with the innocence and beauty that somehow only summer can illuminate.