Summer vacation meant 12 hours in a van with my 10 siblings and my parents.

It meant trying to sleep sitting up, pillows wedged between heads and windows.

It meant easy cheese and Ritz crackers as we crossed the Idaho-Washington border.

It meant looking out for the A-frame IHOP, the totem pole my dad carved for his Eagle Scout project, the road that we turned down to get to Grandma’s house.

It meant a cookie jar full of gingersnaps, bushes full of raspberries (which became bowls of berries with milk and sugar – the taste of summer), picnics on the patio.

It meant games of Red Rover, Yellow River, and Parking Lot with cousins in the front yard.

It meant hours of swimming, floating, diving in our cousins pool, followed by hours of lounging in their basement watching movies.

It meant beds set up in random corners of the basement, talking late into the night, munching on Little Debbie snacks we’d bought with our paper route money just for the occasion.

*****

For my kids, so far, it means a late flight on JetBlue.

It means staying up until midnight one time a year.

It means dipping toes in the cousin’s pool.

It means lots of tickling from the resident uncles.

It means jumping on the trampoline.

It means learning to cross the monkey bars.

It means a big bag of trail mix where m&ms are the best part of the bunch.

It means running races and watching Dad and uncles play Ultimate frisbee.

It means sleeping in bunk beds for the first time.

And who knows what other treasures will be woven into the fabric of their summers at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

 

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