Thinking back to my most fond summer memories, I can close my eyes and imagine the summer before my senior year of high school. I can smell the warm summer air tinted with the smell of sunscreen and smoking barbecue. My friends are singing, more like screaming, along to Party in the USA as I drive my Jeep with the windows down through the back roads of Golden Valley. I remember the feeling of jumping into the cool water of Lake Berryessa and laying in the scorching heat of a California summer.
I close my eyes and remember the first Summer my husband and I spent in New England. California heat had nothing on the east coast humidity. We would drive through the back roads of Connecticut, passing by sandy beaches, thick woods, and colonial towns, all in one drive. On one evening drive, we happened to pass by the Old Lyme Day Festival, where the coastal town celebrates their founding with various booths, live music, and fireworks. We decided to stop and check it out. Thinking back, I can remember the taste of the salty oysters that we slurped from their shells at a seafood eatery booth. I remember the feeling of an ice cold local brew in my hand. I can feel the embrace my husband's arms around me as we watch the fireworks pop over the midnight blue harbor. This summer night holds in my memory as if it just happened.
I open my eyes to my daughter running through the sprinklers in our backyard. She’s laughing with a full smile, letting the water chase her as she prances through the grass. Even though we live in Hawaii now, where the weather is always warm, I still feel the essence of summer and how it comes into our home and changes our behavior. We spend more time outside, more time exploring, and more time together. Even though my high school girls and I may have traded our hangouts for a group text, I have my best girl here making me full belly laugh as she chases birds with the sprinklers. I may not have a New England beer in my hand, but this lemon ice water feels more refreshing. I’m grateful for all those summer memories, but I’m ready to make some new ones.