Welcome back, my old friend. We’ve missed you.
As always, you showed up right on time, with the shrill dinging of the last school bell one afternoon last week. You rode on the shoulders of my delirious sons, as they bounded out to the car. Their faces were flushed with the awareness that you’ll be their companion for the next three glorious months.
Those three months seem short to me, but I have visited with you 37 times. To my children, who have known you for only a handful of visits, your three-month stay seems like an eternity. I don’t really understand how that works, but I know that I like the look in their eyes.
I hope you brought with you what you always bring: the late-evening firefly hunts and the disregarded bedtimes. Surely you brought the bug spray, watermelon, ice chest, and library books. (But please, feel free to leave the mosquitos at home. Please? Just this once?)
With your happy arrival, I know that my car will smell like damp, chlorinated beach towels for a while. Heads will be sweaty, and sleepovers will be plentiful . You’ll inspire us to get out the ice cream maker, a completely impractical venture, but we’ll do it anyway, because something about you requires it.
As much as I love you, I’ll admit that you’re not always the easiest of guests. Thanks to you, there will be a consistent path of footprints across my kitchen, trailing a curious mixture of dirt, sidewalk chalk and spilled bubble juice. You’ll run up my electric bill (worth every cool, 73-degree penny, by the way). You’ll cost me a sweet fortune in popsicles. And somehow, despite my best efforts to the contrary, you’ll lure all my good silverware into the sandbox.
I’ll forgive you for this, but only because you let me sleep in. And because you smell like fresh-cut grass.
So stick around, old friend, for as long as you can, because your arrival acutely reminds me how quickly the rest of the year is flying by. You bring the sunscreen and the fireworks, and I’ll supply the kids.
We’ve been waiting for you.