Summertime and the living is easy, especially when you are a kid. All that carefree abandon, the long days of no responsibility, full of good times and sunshine. Riding bikes, playing tag as the sun sets, staying up late. Sticky popsicles that run down your hand and arm, lunches that get slightly soggy when eaten after swimming, still in your swimsuit, hair dripping. Running barefoot in the grass, laying out a blanket to read, Capri Sun next to you, because summer to a bookworm also means more time to read. I spent many summers getting to know the Ingalls family, a particular favorite of mine. Reading about Ferdinand the bull, the Poky Little Puppy, Curious George, James Herriot and his Yorkshire Dales and cows and dogs, The Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley High, Christopher Pike, my first intro to horror fiction. The list goes on and on.
I remember my mom signing me up every year for the summer reading program. I wasn’t the most athletic kid, and I was quiet and shy, and remember thinking, “Finally, a competition I might be able to win!” I did win, many times actually, as a kid, and even as an adult. I loved (still do) the library in the summer. An oasis of peace, calm, and cold temperatures, to a kid whose family did not have central air. My legs would be freezing, but I didn’t care, as I browsed books like it was my job. Story time was fun too, when I was younger. The Children’s Librarian of my youth became the Library Director and then finally retired, in the years I have been going to my library. A whole career that I was witness to.
And the tradition continues. On Monday, my sister-in-law Chrissy and I took our kids to the library and signed them up together for summer reading. I don’t remember themes being a thing when I was younger, but our theme for this year is STEAM, which is pretty cool. For Wyatt and L.’s age group, 0-3, we follow the path of a game board, and of course read to the kids. The game board gives us direction – for instance, our first square tells us to read a science book. Chrissy and I scoured the shelves looking for one that would interest us as well as the kids. I ended up choosing a Dr. Seuss animal book, because that counts right? I didn’t end up reading that one to Wyatt though, anyway. Instead I read him a fantastic book from our own collection, called You Are Stardust. I love love love it. I of course signed up for the adult program too, and this year they had a version for “busy moms”, even though I feel like all moms are busy? Also board game format, it is more focused on reading with your family, and doing family activities, rather than reading books just for you on your own. I guess it does make sense really. I chose that one this time. And just like when I was a kid, my fingers are crossed that I win something!
And just because I am no longer that same young and carefree little kid, wearing terry cloth rompers, reading the day away, playing with my cousins, I can still eat popsicles sitting on the front porch, and run around barefoot. And of course, I still do. I’ve also been known to flag down the ice cream man just for a bomb pop.
What about you? What were your summers like?