|Tending the fire|
Sidney has been spending hours exploring my parent's large backyard. He's picked fresh raspberries and blueberries, stared in amazement at lightening bugs and confused the long garden hose for a snake (he has never seen either before). He's been kicking a soccer ball around real yard and has experienced both mosquito bites and poison ivy for the first time. Sidney and Glenn spent one night camped out in a tent in the backyard. Afterwards Sidney proclaimed it to be smelly (thanks to the passing skunk) and fun but "he didn't want to do it again". As a family we've built sand castles on the beach and sat around a fire pit roasting hot dogs on sticks and eating gooey s'mores. There have been ice cream cones, lots of pizza and games of miniature golf. And best of all, Sidney has been attending an amazing day camp. Here he's been playing capture the flag, duck, duck, goose and red light-green light; childhood games that I'm familiar with but ones that never make it to Belgian playgrounds. He came home on his first day talking excitedly about learning to shoot a bow (aka archery), trying Cheetos for the first time (he loved them) and talks about the new friends he's made. But perhaps the biggest excitement for him has been riding a real yellow school bus when they leave camp to head to the beach. Belgian school buses more closely resemble long haul motor coaches and Sidney has been wanting to ride a real school bus. Who knew this would be one of the highlights of his summer. And the beaches themselves? They visit a different one each day with Sidney spending time at beaches that I visited as a child as well as ones I had only heard about.Each evening at dinner Sidney recites all of the details of the yellow bus and then, despite his bath, still smelling faintly of sunscreen and bug spray falls into a heavy slumber.
This is what summer is supposed to be all about. In past summers we've toured our share of ancient castles, walled cities and battlefields in far off lands but there is something magical about being on the Maine coast this summer that makes past years fade in comparison. Sidney is finally experiencing all of those things that his parents have taken for granted. Its been wonderful and has reaffirmed that our making this long trek back to the States was the best was we could have spent our summer vacation.