Creating Best Summer Memories

It’s the last day of school and the year ends, a string of days wrapped in the magic of learning, friendship, love for your teacher, growing pains and the excitement of life when you are a kid. It’s truly a magical time and I find myself thinking of my best summer memories and what memories will my children have of their summers.
Now, summer is “really” here for us, pool parties with friends, beach day after day with coolers packed with goodies, evenings that end with a movie and popcorn on the couch. the relaxing feel of not having to go anywhere.

I used to spend my summers with my sister and cousins at my grandma’s beach house. A large, but really simple place nested on the top of a hill with the views of the lagoon and the ocean to the left, with the elegant contour of Rio’s mountains as the background. The most beautiful sunsets.

My grandfather built that house when his kids were pre-teens and 3 generations later, that’s where the family has been spending every weekend or school break since.

My great-aunt would be in Rio for the season, escaping the cold German winters.

After breakfast made of sandwich bread, butter, jelly and a glass of cold chocolate milk we would walk to the beach.

Grandma didn’t drive and at 91 still doesn’t. A long walk for little ones on a narrow dirt road flanked on one side by a mountain and by homes on the right. We loved walking to the beach and we would drag ourselves under the hot noon sun back home for lunch and the pool.

My blonde cousins would have their hair green by the end of the summer from so much time in the chlorine water. My curly hair would need loads of conditioner at the end of the day.

There was no TV, no electronics, just dirt, grass, barefoot kids, pool time and a steady routine of 3 meals a day, shower and bed time when the sun would set. Who could be outside with so many mosquitoes anyways?

Before 5 PM grandma would close all the windows and doors and spray the house with a little metal pump filled with something so poisonous to kill the mosquitoes that we couldn’t be around. We called it “flit”.

For us kids there was never a stressful moment , just the occasional kids fights, readily managed by her motherly wisdom earned after raising her 6 kids. She would cook her yummy rice and beans, toss a salad, we would grill the meat and life was easy. Now as a mother of 3 I wonder how much work summers meant for her.

My grandfather would arrive from work, after a long commute, with fresh baguettes and sugar and cream topped brioches. We would end the day with our tummies full and sticky fingers.

My parents, uncles and aunts would come for the weekend from Rio where they worked. Then, the house would be filled with music, the fridge would be filled with beer – we are Germans after all! – and I have these wonderful memories of parties, family, friends that still our friends and children running between their legs as they chat and hang out.

On Monday morning the house would be quiet again and grandma would take her ducklings and walk back to the beach, starting a brand new week.

Now it’s our turn to create the best summer memories to our children. How are you doing that?

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