Monday, August 4, 2014

An All American Summer

Tending the fire
The first two weeks of our American sojourn involved a whirlwind of hotels, restaurant meals and visiting friends and family along the east coast from southern Virginia to Maine. But for our final two weeks we have been settled in one place and are staying with my parents in mid coast Maine. Here in Maine, however, we've slowed down our pace and been enjoying the best that summer has to offer: cookouts, lazy days in the sun and for Sidney, attending camp for the first time. Actually, so much of what we have been doing has been firsts for Sidney. He may be approaching five but he has never spent a summer in America. While his years overseas have afforded him with amazing opportunities, he has been missing out of so many of the "normal" activities that both Glenn and I took for granted when we were growing up. And these experiences have been so much fun for our entire family.

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.


  1. This is great and we totally relate!! Our summer has been similar nestled in the Adirondack mountains!! For my older 2 girls, this is where memories are made but for my almost 7 year old everything is new!! Yes, I love that they all get to experience the "All American Summer" for the first time in 3 years! There is just something to be said about childhood memories!! I'm working on a post right now..very similar to this one about how we are all enjoying the water, mountain air and relaxed summer life!! (Sorry no yellow school buses for my girls - but they have loved seeing them on the roads! and the older 2 keep telling their younger sister how much fun they were to ride!!). Have a great couple more weeks.

    1. Jennifer- It really has been so much fun to see things through Sidney's eyes. And for me it drives home the point that while he is having amazing adventures in Europe, the simple pleasures of "home" are creating the most memories for him.