The Summer that Was

It was the summer where the giant pool and bounce house stood side-by-side. Where on a one-hundred-degree day you could immerse yourself in the cold water and lean back against the air-filled sides or swim with orcas and, after enough relaxing, you could bounce-bounce-bounce until you collapsed on the steaming hot cushioned floor and stare up past green tree leaves at the brilliant cloudless sky. It was a summer of swim lessons in the morning where we called Matthew’s flailing from deck to water a dive, while Joshua, after one fun-filled lesson, refused to go back in the water for any more. But each day as we got home, his chorus of “go in the pool go in the pool” rang out until I could resist no more, and the cold pool and hot bounce house became, again, the playground that he never wanted to leave. In the late afternoon, back to the real pool for Matthew’s swim team while Josh and I rescued each other from tangled bushes as tanned-fit Emma ruled her aquatic kingdom and Elizabeth made beans and rice at home. It was a summer that, early on, saw D-A-D buried in a computer on a Quixotic quest, while she and he and he played and played and played. Then D-A-D was lonely as Joshua and Matthew traveled with their mother to an island paradise where the ocean water gave them rashes on their skin. It was a summer that saw the County Fair open early and Matthew and Joshua explored and played and at the end of the day they had won more stuffed animals than D-A-D could carry. It was a summer of clean floors as Joshua, obsessed with the ’bots, ran Roomba and Scooba over and over on floors and when not cleaning he was mowing with the “the old mower” and “the bubble mower” or driving the blue car indoors or the red car or the truck or the tractor outdoors. It was the summer of old and new (potties, Scoobas) and big and small (Joshua-sized… and Daddy-sized…) It was the summer of “snorkle,” a great splash made in the pool by kicking the legs that made Joshua squeal with shining delight “another snorkle Daddy” and D-A-D frown in puzzlement — not until the fall would he figure out that Joshua meant “sparkle,” from the light of the sun glinting of the millions of tiny drops of clear and cool water. It was the summer when Matthew delved deep into his computer and into Pokemon trading cards, reciting over and over the power and attacks of each little monster. It was a summer of a long drive to SoCal, “Back to the Barnyard” viewing and game playing on the iPhone while I wondered if the trip could possibly be worth the effort until we got to the beach and I saw that they never wanted to leave: true happiness for hours and hours and hours in the sand or the rash-free sea then to the bay side with Carl and the kayak. Then it was the summer of “the hotel,” the Disneyland Hotel with a view of the fireworks (soundtrack on TV!) and room service too many times and on Saturday rides and lines and food and an island to explore and mysteries and D-A-D wasn’t going to let a sore throat get in his way until it became the summer Sunday of the intensive care unit at St. Joseph’s and Joshua and Matthew and Elizabeth explored Disneyland by themselves until Monday morning when, sore throat gone, D-A-D was back with the family and back at Disneyland for another day of exploring. It was the summer of Legoland where we didn’t know to bring swimwear so we played in a great water structure until soaked to the skin and lines that moved oh-so-slowly with a meltdown and then, unable to find cold root beer, we bought the warm stuff and dippin dots and souvenir cups and made impromptu floats that probably cost $9 each but tasted good, good. It was the summer of the long drive back when Joshua was 100 times more loquacious than on the drive down and stayed that way ’till now. It was the summer of the State Fair where the fun ended with a retina tear and emergency surgery and D-A-D stuck at home for a week without bending or reading. It was the summer when Matthew and Joshua could no longer sardine into the bike trailer so we got a fifty-year-old tandem and now ride the ’hood like a freight train with D-A-D in front and Matthew behind and Joshua trailering in the back. It was the summer of balloons making the best bath toys, of another Science Wizard birthday, of biking and triking and scootering in the driveway, of cooking and cleaning and loving and being ruled over by King Orca and reading and singing and sleeping and waking and… it was the summer of Giraffe.

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Ron – 26 Oct 2009