Savoring the Seconds of Summer

Tonight I was reminded it will never again be the 13th day of the 6th year of my daughter’s life.

We celebrated the occasion with a trip to West Cambridge park in Greenwood, S.C. She rode her bike on the recreation trail while I jogged. Afterward we had ice cream – a specialty sundae apiece – to make up for the exercise.

There was a day I could keep track of time by the number of bike trips we took, bird feeders we filled or lines we drew with chalk on a sidewalk somewhere. I’ve lost track of how long ago that was, though. Kalista is far less dependent on me, spends more time than ever with her grandparents and friends, and seems overly concerned about what she’s going to wear the next day.

We have her first grade orientation tomorrow. The one for kindergarten couldn’t have been longer than yesterday ago.

I tell myself – now on the crappy end of 2011’s summer solstice – summer would get old if it lasted forever. I add how pleasant it is to once again look forward to summer. I say this to myself as well, recalling that void of a time in my life between high school and Kalista’s birth.

I wish I’d done more to savor the first summer of my daughter’s life. Did my parents do more for me? Was there a formal vacation we should have taken? Was 9 a.m. too early to get her out of bed? Did we use the grill enough?

Do these questions make me look fat?

Upon contemplation, there’s little doubt Kalista had a wonderful summer – one that will probably make her look forward to next year’s. We didn’t go to Disney World or some amusement park, but she did go to New York twice, Ohio to see her great-grandmother and eastern N.C. more than once. She spent more than half of her weekend days covered in water, sand and campfire smoke at Lake Greenwood; her bicycle’s training wheels are rickety and look as if they might fall off like Forrest Gump’s leg braces. She slept enough, ate plenty of grilled food and, yes, these questions make me look fat.

It’s me who’s missed the most integral part of summer, I fear. Aware of the situation’s magnitude, I spent a lot of time fretting over whether or not Kalista was living life. I should have done more living.

But, hey – what’s done is done. Kalista is older now than she was at the time I started this entry. So am I. Come next week, she’ll be going to her first day of first grade.

And what a wreck I will be.




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