This morning, after orchestrating a torrent of activities for the girls, I was putting away the inflatable pool and slide our friends gave to us. My hands pressed upon the soft, blue walls and slid into the water. Swirls of childhood tickled my face as I looked toward the upstairs of our house to see if anyone was peeking through the curtains instead of napping. The windows were empty and I slipped into a reverie of water long since evaporated, wrinkled fingers of my own— smaller and baring no ragged cuticles or blisters, traced circles on the surface. The warm-from-the-sun-water with its slightly thick quality stoked memories of the possibility that lived in the wind on my face.

Running, my feet sank into the soggy grass and I remembered sneaking to the back of our yard and poking my fingers through the fence, the way my skin always smelled after dashing through icy-water, shooting sprinklers, that blend of grass, sunshine and contentment. No matter how thoroughly I search the recesses of my memory, I don’t remember an effort, any sort of display of it being hard for my mom. And yet, I know with the certainty that comes with being a parent and realizing it cannot always be perfect, that it was. The safety of where and how I played, the afternoons into dusk and mornings in the shade, even if I played alone, she was there as an architect of sorts. Working, exerting, stapling together a childhood for me.

I don’t know if water will be their trigger, or maybe sand, but one day I hope they’ll find themselves with tender droplets of their happiest moments softly falling all around them. That they’ll know, indirectly or otherwise, how very much they were loved.

That we had these trees to embrace them,

These skies to inspire them,

These times to revere them

And these summer days to remember forever.