Summer is officially here. This kids are out of school, days are longer, and lightning bugs sparkle in the night. Fourth of July weekend is upon as as well, when families celebrate our freedoms in this country with barbecues, pool parties, and other activities.
Which got me thinking about summers gone by.
I grew up pretty poor, so we didn't really take family vacations. The most my family would do is maybe drive a couple hours to see people for a few days, but we didn't go on long car trips or travel much at all.
However, this isn't me in a vain attempt to garner pity. I was lucky enough to have an aunt and uncle that looked out for me. Summer for me was when I'd get to go spend time at my Aunt Billie's and Uncle Bill's house.
They would swoop in and snatch me away for weeks during the summer, or as long as my parents would let me be gone. Their home was only a few hours away, but it seemed like another world to me. They would take me to movies, museums, theme parks, anything they could think of that was fun to do. Even after they had their own child, they still included me in all their family fun.
Some of our best times were when we'd pile in the car and just take off without a plan, just seeng where we'd end up. Usually it included a book store, because they both held an immense love for reading, and always nurtured that love in me. We'd find out of the way bookstores and spend the whole day getting lost in stories and finding treaures. Even when we'd just stay at the house, we'd have cookouts, fireworks, and play outside in the sprinkler. I had an entire set of friends there, and they were always more than welcome to join in all the fun.
Billie and Bill showed me how much beauty and wonder there was in the world if you'd just stop and take the time to notice. They had a huge garden in their backyard where we'd pick fruits and vegetables daily. Sunflowers taller than me would sway in the wind and yield huge bounties of seeds to munch on. Cats and dogs would play in the sun, or keep me company on lazy days inside reading.
Those times were simply magical to me and helped shape me as an idividual in more ways than I can even explain. They always called me "princess" and made me feel like one, too.
Uncle Bill has long since passed, but Aunt Billie is still around. She still calls me "princess" and makes me smile every second I'm with her. Her home has always been another home to me and always will be. I lived with her when I went to college and learned how to be an adult. Every stage of my life is connected to her in some way, but my childhood summers at her house were just the best times ever.
So what are your best and brighteset summer memories?