Summer came too quickly this year. The spring flashed by—the lilacs have bloomed and are gone, nameless bright wildflowers burst open by the side of the road, only to be replaced now by other (mostly equally nameless) summer species. Bean-girl graduated from kindergarten. Legume turned three. Husband just turned 42 this week, and I started my new job two weeks ago.
My little girls are growing every day, as I tell them whenever they step on a scale. Just this week Bean-girl decided to put herself to sleep at night. We no longer lie next to her after turning off the light, waiting for her eyes to close and breath to slow before sneaking away. At the age of five, she’s finally learned the trick of falling asleep on her own. “I close my eyes and think of something nice,” she told me. Did you tell her that method? I asked my husband. Nope, she learned it all on her own.
And Legume? What to say about this headstrong, defiant, exasperating toddler with the killer-cute grin? She’s three. For any parent who’s been there, enough said. The “terrible twos” get all the press, but the early threes have it beat, hands down. I will say that I think she actually enjoys getting time-outs.
Last weekend we happened upon a carnival in the parking lot of a strip mall. I saw the carnival there last year, too—it doesn’t advertise, it just pops up without warning, like mushrooms after a rain. “The carnival!” the girls started crying. We’d been to a carnival near the zoo a month before, and the girls had talked about it continually for days afterward, reliving elephant ears and the glory of a carousel and children’s train ride. “If you eat a good dinner and if it’s not raining, we’ll stop by the carnival,” Husband promised. We continued on to our restaurant destination, and after dinner we stopped by the carnival as promised. Legume clasped her horse on the carousel and stared straight ahead with solemn eyes as she does every time she gets on a carousel, seemingly more frightened than happy. Bean-girl, on the other hand, beamed radiantly. Most of the rides were for kids older than Legume, but we piled onto the Ferris wheel as a single group. “It looks scary!” both Bean-girl said, and Legume hung back. I pushed/carried them into the swinging car, Legume struggling against me. I wanted them to know this. Husband held Legume, and Bean-girl pressed against me as the car rose into the air. We were soaring, and the air rushed against us. Bean-girl began smiling her radiant smile. She moved away from me, saying that she didn’t need to be near me after all. She grasped the ring at the center of the car. “Look, look! There’s our car down there!” Legume said (it wasn’t). We were at the top of the sky.
The card in Bean-girl’s report card said “Mark your calendar. School open house on Sept 1.” I dutifully marked it in black ink on our calendar. I flipped past and then backward through the intervening months: June, July, August. June already completely marked up, filled up, half-way over. The summer hasn’t even officially begun, and it seemed to be going too fast. Bean-girl has a full calendar at summer camp—field trips at least once, sometimes twice, a week. Sprinkler days and water play for Legume at her own daycare center. And me? Such ambitious plans I have for work this summer—experiments to be validated, cells lines to be created, proteins to be knocked down.
I just have to remember to get out and see this summer, too, before it’s gone.