I grew up going to the most magical place on earth. Every summer, when the heat in Texas became too unbearable to endure my family boarded a plane for Canada. We flew 3 hours, anxious, excited and ready for the real part of summer to begin. Once the plane landed we went through customs, waited for our bags and our dog, and drove north 3 hours to my favorite place on earth. The journey there felt like an eternity. Once the car was parked, the lake within view, I sprang from my seat, feeling the grass between my toes and ran for the water. And for the next few weeks I awoke each morning, put on my bathing suit and lived in what I felt was the most beautiful place in the world, a lake in Canada whose shores held the cottages of cousins I saw just once a year. I went on adventures in the forest, found flowers growing on dead trees, flowers whose blooms were bigger than my head. I gathered clay on the lake’s floor with my cousins and built people and villages, left to dry on the faces of rocks. These memories, though they only seemed to encompass a small part of each year, are things I deeply treasure from my childhood. Watching my mom prepare pies and meals for family. Seeing my dad play frisbee in the water with his brothers and win at cards by the fire in the evenings.
Then there was a time when I went to college and life seemed to take over those summer traditions, and my time by the lake lessened. And with moving and marriage and babies, those summer days felt like pictures in a photo album, that I could remember but hardly feel. But it’s funny, how life becomes a circle instead of a line, when you return to the same place but in a different capacity. This past week I found myself sitting by the same lake I lived in as a little girl, laughing with my cousins and feeling the sun burning on my arms. But this time I was also watching my own children laughing, with clay from the lake’s floor dripping from their hands. Mya holding her cousins’ hands as she flew off the dock into icy waters. I saw them playing make believe in the forest, putting their bathing suits on as they woke in the morning and feeling sand stuck between their toes as they drifted off to sleep at night. And the realization of this circle, of living my life again through my children, filled my heart with warmth to it’s upmost brim. When you realize you are growing older, that time is moving faster than you could have ever imagined, there is solace in the regeneration of memories. There is something poetic and all encompassing when you hear your children’s laughter echoing across the water, you hear it merging with your five year old self whose happiness still sits within those waves. Although I could long to go back, to summers as a child on this lake, I feel content with where I am today, giving those moments to my children, as I recognize this time belongs to them.
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