Growing up back east there were a few sure signs that summer was officially here! The last day of school, the first lightning bug (firefly) sighting and digging your flips flops out of winter storage were all signs that summer had begun. Summer was playing outside until our mom called us home or the street lights turned on at dusk. It was then you pleaded for just a half hour more to stay in the yard and catch lightning bugs. It was endless hours of riding our bikes and playing outside. My mom would load the entire neighborhood up in our station wagon and take us to Moon Park to play kickball.
I’m so grateful for those fun memories of summer. Now that I live on the west coast and have a small son, I wonder what fun traditions will get him excited for summer to start. We don’t have lightning bugs and the temperature is moderate so we don’t really pack away our flip-flops, but I think we have already started some traditions we’ll carry on each summer.
Picking fresh apricots off our tree and eating them, celebrating his birthday each June, (I always wanted a summer birthday!) picnics at the park, family camp with friends, hiking in the mountains and making mud pies with the hose are just a few traditions we’ve started.
We also are excited for him to spend the summers as a family “doing for one what we wish we could do for everyone” in our community. My husband and I decided to start a family tradition in the summer to spend time giving so that our son grows up knowing the joy of giving his time to serve others. Our pastor in Atlanta challenged us with the phrase, do for one what you wish you could do for everyone. We want to teach our son that although he can’t do for everyone that he can still make a difference serving one.
These are the memories and traditions we are making right now for our west coast son who will get to travel back east this summer to catch lightning bugs and wear flip-flops at grandma’s.
What are some of your favorite childhood summer traditions? What traditions have you started with your family?