We're in the thick of summer, visiting friends and tan lines and cucumbers from the garden. G picks my Asian eggplants and calls them purple bananas. E teaches me her favorite songs from camp. Down by the banks where the hanksy panksy bullfrogs jump from banks to banks singing eep eyep oop opp listen to the kerplop. L is planning her outfits for kindergarten. She wants to lay them out now, on her floor, and doesn't want to hear about her more-than-month wait.
The lovely husband snaps his teeth in and out to the tempo of our day. I pledge allegience to the flag. Michael Jackson sings so bad. Pepsi-Cola burned his butt. Now he's drinking 7-Up. His sutures will come out this week (the lovely husband's, not MJ's), and I think he'll be glad to be gone of them. 7-Up has no caffeine, now he's drinking gasoline. Gasoline is made for cars, now he's shooting up to Mars. I had to explain to E who Michael Jackson is, but she recognizes Taylor Swift on the radio and sings along. She spent the day in the pool with friends and she spent more time underwater than above. I didn't have to say anything but two moms who have known her since before she could crawl commented on her improved swimming. She refused to agree, but she did do a hundred handstands on the bottom of the shallow end.
There's a place on Mars where the men where bikinis and the women wear martinis. Every step you take is enough to kill a snake. When the snake is dead you pour mustard on his head. When the mustard dries you put rubies in its eyes. When the rubies break it is 1948. The girls ask: what's a martini? I ask: why would you pour mustard on a snake? They roll their eyes at me and chant and clap, sun-brightened hair, chlorine, dirt.
I love summer, the haze and heat and forever light, the way obligations feel lighter and ice cream tastes better and the grass is so green it carries an afterglow when you look up and see dusk falling. I love getting older. There might one day be a year I reach where the burdens of age reverse that thought, but I love being more sure of myself, having more memories to layer, measuring growth and confidence against faded inhibitions, and finding in my life more and more old friends: in faces, in pages, in stories we tell and retell and recount together again.