This is the summer of twelve.  A summer where every morning starts with a dog’s wet kisses.  Where morning chores and afternoon homework are tomorrow’s problems.

It’s a summer of Pop-Tarts and Toaster Strudels crammed between teeth like a buccaneer’s knife: there’s no time for eating, children’s voices beckon friends onto the street.   Breakfast on the go.  It’s a summer of windswept hair and playing-card motorbicycles.

It’s a summer of laughter.  Rolling in the ivy beneath the great pine tree, gasping for great gulps of air, clutching at stomachs, living a fleeting moment of life not easily recollected.  Why or How isn’t what memory’s lens displays, but simply the understanding of bliss.

It’s a summer spent wet a muddied.  Of exploration treks through a backyard forest.  Of the perfect futility of trying to fish in a 2 inch creek and the feeling of happiness, not disappointment, even though nothing is caught.  Because happiness comes from doing, not obtaining.

Tree house fortresses sitting above an armada of Zerg hordes.  Nerf guns, football grenades and Caprisun med-packs equips defenders with all the tools needed.

Jumping.

It’s the feeling of air rushing into a laughing mouth, blowing past squinted eyes and the jarring feeling of feet finding the earth after retreating from the highest tower.

It’s a summer of competition.  30 seconds.  40 seconds. 50 seconds underwater.  Marco-Polo, football and Olympic belly flopping.  Of distractions, soda, snacks and bathroom visits during the dreaded 15 minute adult swim.  Of chins in hands, eyelids drooping and deep, bored sighs as the single, solitary adult practices their breath stroke.  Then butterfly.  Then backstroke…

It’s the shrill cry that matches the shrill call of a whistle.  And the glee only a child can feel by demonstrating their best cannonball, mere inches from where the adult practices their side stroke.  Being underwater makes the lifeguard lecture impossible to hear.

It’s a summer ruled by towel draped adolescents.  Where wet hair, shorts and a damp towel turns a boy into a king.  A group into a band of adventurers.  A dog becomes a wolf.  The walk home is a path to danger, to mystery, and intrigue and excitement.  Scabbed knees, blue lips and chlorine irritated eyes are impossible to feel because a knight doesn’t feel pain.    Because of smile-sore faces.  There is no time for discomfort.

It’s not a summer of “goodbye,” but “see you later.”  It’s a summer of mother’s standing at doorways, calling for their boys.   Of friendly waves and red carpet driveways.   Of handmade dinners and forced showers under threat of the image of blonde hair turning green.

“Goodnight’s,” and “I love you’s” and “See you in the morning’s” are bookended with kisses to the forehead.  Covers pinched under, as a father demonstrates his well-practiced burrito swaddling technique, and the warm weight of a dog’s presence at the end of the bed.

Drowsiness from exhaustion.  Sleep not because it is demanded, but because it is needed.  Dreams not of tomorrow, but of today.  Darkness, because even the world needs to rest.

This is the summer of twelve.   A summer where every morning starts with a dog’s wet kisses…