Summer Mornings

Morning. I don't usually write this time of day but I find myself with ten minutes before I need to take a shower, house picked up, lunch made, breakfast eaten, Chloe still asleep, Ron gone to work. Cool still after so many days of hot and smoky skies. Birds are fed, bird bath refilled, ferns misted. Trash and recycles at the curb ready for pick up. Kayla fed and sleeping again.

I will miss my summer mornings. Time to get my chores done, sleeping until seven with no need for an alarm clock. No fussing with Chloe to get her night owl self out of bed and to hurry up so we can get out the door by 7:45. Leisurely drive to work with just NPR or Oprah for company. Such a treat. This is our last week and then fifth grade begins. 

I so clearly remember my fifth grade year, the start of the person I think of as me, with continuous memories to now. I remember being nine and ten as freedom. Riding my bike around the neighborhoods, drinking from a random garden hose when I got thirsty, playing at the school playground with my best friend, just us two. Death drops, death spirals, hours on the bars. Chinese jumprope, double dutch, magical games of dolphins and mermaids in her doughboy pool. Being the head of my class, without even realizing it was something you were supposed to work for. Envying the pretty girl in class, Kristi Passarelli, and her seemingly effortless cool while I struggled with my skinny legs and whether I was brave enough to wear striped knee socks with my pant legs rolled up. (I wasn't.) 

Reading, reading, and reading some more. Trips to the library, alone, coming home with an armful of books to devour. Getting lost in those worlds. Malory Towers, The Rats of NIMH, stories of nurses and stewardesses and female reporters. Fantastic worlds of societies below the root and above the ground. Tuesday and Saturday nights spent with Laverne and Shirley, Happy Days, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, cuddling with my mom on the sofa. Endless after school afternoons filled with Hogan's Heroes, The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, Gilligan's Island. Elaborate worlds built for my barbies, with washcloths for bedspreads, a jewelry box as a dresser, small stuffed toys that became chairs. Playing school for hours, writing reports for the fun of it. Completely independent with my school work and homework. Sly Park away from my family, sitting on the bank of a stream, feet dangling, feeling so grown up. And free.

My girl, though, is different. She has her own path to walk, her own route to evolve into the woman she is going to be. I am here to guide, to help, to encourage, but ultimately, this life is hers. I do so hope, though, that it is a good one.

Fifth grade. Hello again.

Chloe in Central Park

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