We gathered a few things that would help us remember who we were in the summer of 2013.
A LEGO mini-figure. A length of ribbon cut to the exact measurement of each kid. Pictures of One Direction and minions. A take-out menu from Marco’s pizza. Notes about what we like and where we’ve been.
We gathered those things and stuffed them in empty 2-liter bottles and then we buried those time capsules with stern instructions not to open until 2026.
I wish I could squeeze every ounce of this summer into a 2-liter bottle and drink it up whenever I wanted to relive it all over again. If you were to look from the outside, you might wonder why this summer was any kind of big deal. We didn’t travel to exotic places – we didn’t even make it out of the midwest. We only did a little over half of our summer bucket list. We didn’t buy a boat, or get a puppy, or visit an amusement park. We did none of those things and yet it was epic because we simply enjoyed the season. There are a hundred memories or more that I could fit into my time capsule, and they’ll all fit because none of them is so grand that it outshines all the others. Just hundreds of little moments that remind me of who we are: a family that doesn’t always get it right, a family that has fun anyways, a family that loves each other fiercely.
Yesterday the vacation part of our summer came to an end.
Elena was off to school first. Sixth grade for Miss Six this year. I know it’s cliche, but holy cheeseballs, where did my little girl go? I know that her Grandma Dee Dee was looking down from heaven and smiling … skinny white jeans were a look that only Mike’s mom could pull off. There are absolutely no skinny white genes on my side of the family.
And then it was Eli’s turn to go to kindergarten. For the first time in 6 years the school year starts without a commute that involves driving 25 minutes to Westfield. I’m trying very hard not to think about losing my backseat buddy. Whether it was taking Elena to school, taking him to school, or running our errands on our days off, he’s always been my car companion. I know he’s ready and it’s time and I’m very excited for this next step in his story. Still, I’m going to miss him, his singing, and his Eli-isms coming from the back seat daily.
Instead of getting in the car, we walked together down to the bus stop. He got on the bus without hesitation, like he’d been doing it for years. I waved goodbye and made it almost all the way home before I started to cry.
I’m going to miss my kids, and I’m going to miss summer. Not because it was perfect or because I love having them around all the time. Believe me, there was fighting, there were days I needed cocktail hour at 3 p.m. No, I’m going to miss these kids and this season because I know the moments we want to preserve in our personal time capsules are harder to come by as they grow up and spend more and more time away. Thank goodness I don’t have to wait until 2026 to relive this summer all over again. I just have to dig into my memories whenever I want to remember.