A couple of days ago I walked over to my neighbor’s house to share some of my summer abundance with her. After debating whether to knock or ring the doorbell, I decided on the doorbell. I mean, they have one, and so they probably appreciate that it gets used from time to time. (Ours, on the other hand, went kerplunk a couple of years back. Knocking suits us just fine, but mostly because we can’t seem to get the wiring right again.)
After a minute or two, their dog came to the door and pushed the curtain aside with her nose. She stared me down but never barked. I knew they were home, as their younger little was out playing with all the other children. After a couple of more minutes, I sat the fruit down and headed back to my house. About a half hour later my friend came walking down the street, shaking her head embarrassedly and laughing. “Oh dear,” she said. “I’m so sorry. We were eating, and I just knew it was one of the children. Again.”
She didn’t have to say another word. I don’t think there’s a parent on this street who hasn’t ignored the summons to the door at one time or another this summer. Just this evening, we heard a knock and Aub commented, “I’m guessing it’s someone under four feet tall.”
Because it usually is.
And it’s rarely for me. Or Aub. Or the Fella. Our 12 and under residents are quite popular around here.
When the summer vacation for the public schools began, I wondered what this summer would bring. Some of the children go to day camp, but most don’t–so yes, I wondered just how often the door would be knocked on and how often my children would be in and out and all over their friend’s yards playing back and forth. As we still had a few days to finish up our school year, I hoped the knocks wouldn’t be too often those first few days of summer break.
It’s been an interesting summer really. Some days no one knocks until evening. Other days Cooter is out the door by 9 and he and his buddy play for an hour or so before the heat sends them scampering back indoors for a few hours. The heat chases them inside more than they chase each other, playing this game or that–the ones we all played as youngsters or the ones they’ve specially designed for themselves.
It’s been actually quite delightful this summer, really, and I shall miss it.
Tonight was the last night of carefree summer fun. School starts here for our friends on Friday. Yes. July. In camaraderie and for lack of friends to play with once it begins, we too will start our school year then. Tomorrow night will find all the children around here tucked in bed far earlier than they have been all summer, and they will awaken bright and early Friday morning to begin new adventures.
But tonight–tonight all the good intentions of us Mamas putting them to bed a little earlier all week in anticipation of the big day never even entered our minds. The crew played and shouted and chased and hid, and I stood inside my front door, listening with my head bowed, close to weeping. Such a treasured sound. The sound of joy, of being young and carefree, of having friends and energy and good health, and laughter–oh the laughter. My heart was full.
So I went to the garage and pulled out a chair. I plopped it open in the middle of my front yard and set to watching and listening and soaking the last night of summer in–breathing it, savoring it, memorizing its sights and sounds and flavors. I was soon joined by our Princess and two of her friends. My Fella even came out and sat for a bit. It was the best entertainment I’ve had in ages.
And I sat out there with our friends until the stars came out, as we pointed and tried to name them.
It was beautiful.
How is it that summer has flown by so quickly? How is it that I can’t remember a whole lot of what we’ve done this summer–and yet, I’m thankful for that.
This wasn’t the summer of big trips.
It was the summer of little knocks.
And I give thanks for each one–and every heat-filled, sweat-drenched, lemonade drinking moment filled with water balloon fights, front porch performances and conversations, front yard baseball, football, and basketball games. And the smiles. I give thanks for them most of all.
Farewell, summer, and farewell, knocks that had me washing my hands from cooking or stopping whatever else I was doing to come to the door. May there always be a neighborhood of friends to chase and confide in and dream with–and may we always remember this precious summer.
May we always have someone who knocks on our doors, asking if we can play.
Love to all.