2018-07-19 / Around Town

With Summer Comes Childhood

By Amy Martin

I used to make s’mores during the summer as a child. The perfect s’mores sandwich requires patience. Anyone who has ever rushed the steps, specifically the delicate marshmallow roasting over an open flame, has not received the complete taste bud elation that this concoction is meant to evoke.

I don’t reference the dedication to this craft lightly. As a former brownie/girl scout, I actually earned a badge for completing this task to its highest level of mastery. I didn’t earn this badge on my first attempt, so a learned appreciation for the method was part of the s’mores badge journey that served me well through my childhood summers.

I used to watch my father play in a softball league on Friday evenings in summer. The other children and I barely paid attention to the game until someone’s mom yelled out that one of our fathers was at bat. To that, our response was always, “What inning is it?”

Amy Martin is an opinion columnist with a background in family chaos, laughter and a lot of laundry. She writes from a perspective of passion, reality and humor. Amy Martin is an opinion columnist with a background in family chaos, laughter and a lot of laundry. She writes from a perspective of passion, reality and humor. This is how I learned the rules of America’s favorite pastime. We all knew that the bottom of the third allowed for multiple games of kick-the-can and butts-up. The seventh-inning stretch translated to last call at the concession stand. Top of the ninth meant we needed to find our shoes. And bottom of the ninth with two outs meant we were all rooting for a strikeout, regardless of whether your father was batting, because upon conclusion of that last out we all ran like banshees to the Dairy Queen located across the field.

I don’t make s’mores anymore. I don’t do cannon balls into the pool or play “ghosts in the graveyard” when evenings arrive. I have stopped running barefoot through my yard, instead opting to run up a flight of stairs to grab shoes instead of relying on the decades of hard-earned callouses on my feet to protect me from whatever it is I don’t want to step on. And I certainly don’t run like a lunatic up a hill to get a soft serve vanilla cone with rainbow sprinkles from Dairy Queen.

Why did these simple childhood activities of summer cease to continue into my adulthood? Did they stop once I started my first summer job? Did they stop once I discovered boys? Or did they slowly drift away as these childish behaviors were replaced by more mature, age appropriate ones called responsibilities? Probably all of the above.

I think it’s time to be a kid again, to take a break here and there from the everyday adult duties that have suffocated my youthful carefree approach to whimsical childhood activities, especially this time of year. I’m old enough now to understand the beauty and importance of the childlike exuberance that accompanies harmless wild abandon.

I need to postpone housework and skip with my children in the driveway. I love skipping. I need to get off my computer and join them when they run through the sprinkler. I need to take them to Dairy Queen on a hot, muggy night, beating them in a barefoot skipping race to the counter, instead of running for air conditioning. I need to teach them how to eat s’mores to their highest level of indulgence where the chocolate is smeared all over their faces. I need them to meet the child that is still somewhere in me.

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