501 Life Magazine | Summer dreams
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Summer dreams

by Adam Bledsoe

Camping, baseball, swimming, fishing, bike riding, catching fireflies, beach vacation, late nights, s’mores, pool parties, barbecue, roasted hot dogs, amusement parks and the summer activities list goes on and on. The transition from summers as a child, adult and parent has been fascinating. 

I grew up with a pool as a child up until about ninth grade. I couldn’t wait to swim in my backyard. 

We had chores like push mowing the yard, which seemed like we owned all the grass in the entire state of Ohio. (To this day, I hate the smell of fresh cut grass.) My dad demanded straight lines. He was a perfectionist like that. Dad got a riding mower the day I moved out of the house.  Go figure. He also loved to have a weed-free garden. Once those chores were done, we’d jump in that cool pool on those warm days. Oh, those were the days.

I’ve mentioned in previous articles I worked on a dairy farm during my ninth- and 10th-grade years. Summer meant lots of work opportunities, including baling hay and working the fields with giant tractors. I was 13 and hauling grain wagons on state highways. I was scared to death. 

My boss had bought a brand-new pickup truck a week prior to a grain wagon getting away from me as I was trying to hitch it up. Yeah, he didn’t need a pretty tailgate. I thought I’d smash the back of it.  

Summers were good as a kid. My folks took us on vacations, most of the time to Myrtle Beach, S.C. So many fond memories came back as I recently took my children there for their first time.

Growing into adulthood came with my enlistment in the military. Summer breaks no longer existed, but I was blessed to be stationed at Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. I stayed at the beach. It was fantastic.  

Off to college I went, and had some of the most enjoyable summers a person could have. From youth ministry internships to traveling around the country representing my school, I was living the dream.

Up until my wife, Amanda, and I had kids, we would do the daily grind, all year. We worked hard and occasionally went somewhere for a vacation, or went camping, but summer had lost its great appeal it once had.  

Then there were babies. Summer plans ceased for a few years until we bought yet another camper. We booked as many camping trips as we could, and loved it.

Now the kids are 11 and 6 1/2. I feel the excitement I once felt about summer, because my kids are going to get to experience what I experienced, if not more. Though planning out a summer full of activities can be daunting, we are so excited about their adventures. A couple weeks with their grandparents, summer camp, water parks, amusement parks, camping adventures and the list goes on.

I’ve written about the changing of seasons in the past. This is more than changing from spring into summer. So many of you reading this have been there, done that and chuckle with the years ahead of me. I hear teenagers are really fun and give no problems. Yeah, yeah…I hear ya.

One thing is for certain, I hope my children enjoy doing the things in my first sentence. My life’s mission is to love God, love my neighbor and do everything I can for my family to have the best days of their lives. I encourage you to do the same.