Bare feet slapping on chalk-covered sidewalks. Bathing suits and sandals and hair filled with sand. Freshly mown grass and the sandal that is no more. Fat caterpillars and oohs and squeals and laughter. Ticks, bee stings, scrapes, cuts, and tumbles. Bandages and kisses and only a little bit of worry.
Water, water, water. Water to drink, water to swim in, water to spray and splash and even jump on. Canoes and waterslides, lifejackets and victories. Water pouring down from the sky, then, as we began our journey back home, hail pounding down, like stones being thrown to run us out of town.
A full week's worth of driving, twenty-five days away from home, and somehow we all survived. Long highways through the bug-covered windshield. Charlotte's Web and Henry Higgins and Treasure Island. Growing boys and an exuberant baby and missing daddy and disappointment when (my) expectations are too high.
Sunshine and thunderstorms and lightning shows. Late mornings and later nights, slow days and full days. Sunsets so perfect they leave you breathless with gratitude and wild with wonder that such beauty could exist in this sin-sick world.
Family visits, hello, goodbye, see you again but never soon enough. Motels and floors and beds that aren't ours. A first boyfriend for one sister and a first breakup for another, and gratitude that I could be there for both. Love and heartache, isn't that just the stuff of life? Long talks and little sisters, why must they make the same mistakes I did? But maybe some things you have to walk through yourself before hindsight shines down its clarity.
Tents and sleeping bags, campfires and marshmallow roasts, stars and songs. Fingers sticky, hearts happy, souls satisfied. Worn out kids sleeping in the grass. Blackberry bushes fairly dripping with berries, thorns scratching at arms and legs as we fill buckets and bags and bellies with gifts straight from the Creator.
It's good to be home again. Summer was wonderful, but now I'm ready for autumn's quiet and rest.