Blame it on my obsession with the show Lost, perhaps, but I did a little time traveling last week. At one of the busiest times of the year for school programs and parties, ballet rehearsals and play dates, my girls and I took a little time out from our crazy schedule to have dinner at a restaurant. (Dad’s out of town, so he’ll never know … unless he reads this.)
As we walked to the restaurant through the breezy, warm sunshine, I asked the girls if we should eat in the outdoor dining area. "Yeah!" they shouted, skipping toward the building.
We sat down and had fun finding creative methods to weigh down their placemats so they wouldn’t blow away. The knives and saltshakers worked the best. As the girls prattled on about school and their friends, I became aware of a long-ago familiar sensation – the physical acceptance of the arrival of summer. My blood pressure, always peaking this time of year, slowed to a crawl. A smile took over my face and I leaned back and relaxed. Really relaxed.
Although this outdoor space overlooked a busy parking lot, I was transported to a time, probably 15 Julys ago, before we had kids, when my husband and I were eating at a very different outdoor restaurant. We had flown to Boston and stopped at a restaurant before driving on to our summer rental on Cape Cod. The restaurant overlooked an ocean inlet filled with bobbing sailboats and chatty, soaring seagulls. Sitting there I knew summer had started as every muscle in my body relaxed, succumbing to the perfect surroundings (and a glass of wine).
We were free.
I have often wondered whether, with two kids, three cats and a recently acquired puppy (!), I would ever feel that perfect sensation again.
And here it was. A little less romantic this time with Diet Pepsi filling in for Chardonnay, but amid gentle conversation with my wonderful daughters, their ponytails flipping in the breeze and their crayons lovingly working out pictures of the sun and sky, that perfect first moment of summer was unmistakable, and incredibly welcome.