Summers were different when I was a kid. They lasted forever. They seemed warmer. It seemed to rain less. The days seemed endless. My brothers have crystal clear memories. They seem to remember what everyone did or said at any given point in their childhood. I have snapshots. I remember waking up and Dad would be sitting on the deck reading the paper in the sun. I remember skinny dipping with Sean, the two of us running around the pool naked while Duncan was cuddled up with Mum tracking us with a flashlight. I remember Duncan and I playing together at the cottage. We were happy just being with each other.
As I grew older, summers lost their glow. By the time I was 16, I had a part-time job during both the winter and the summer. After I had completed school, I was lucky to get even just two weeks off during the year. I would only catch glimpses of summer.
Tonight was different. Tonight I was outside with my twins. The sky turned red as the sun started to set ("Sailors delight"!), but it didn't seem to get any cooler out.The girls were laughing and playing and spraying each other with the hose. They were playing hop scotch and dancing in the puddles. They talked to every person that walked past our driveway. They talked to these people as though we were the best of friends, instead of strangers sharing the same subdivision. The girls told the strangers how lucky they were because their Mummy had made them an Oompah Loompah cake for dessert. They belly laughed as they told the neighbours that they were watering the gardens...and each other! These people who were simply passing by stopped to tell me how delightful my children were and how lucky I was. Although it was nice to hear, I already knew.
I was struck by how innocent they are. They trusted that they were safe and that nothing bad could happen because I was there watching over them. They seemed so sweet, and considerate, and kind. As they danced around and delighted in one another, I realised that they were the perfect little girls that only Enid Blyton could create (of course, she would put us on the seashore in England instead of my driveway). My grandmother would have adored this hour with them!
I watched my babes dance and laugh and sing in the setting sun. I was reminded of the last line in one of the Little House on The Prairie books that I had read (at least) twenty years ago. Laura Ingalls Wilder said "Now is now; it will never be a long time ago". But we know better, don't we? This perfect hour with my first born babies, just before their 4th birthday, is already over. They will grow older. They will become more busy. And they will forget this enchanted evening of ours. But I won't. It belongs to me. It can never be a long time ago.