With summer shortly coming to a close, friends and family cling to the shore to soak up the last rays and swap stories that only the season can provide. There isn’t much left to cross off on the lists we’ve made in May. Painted the mudroom; check. Gone to a baseball game; check. Spent hours at the beach; double check. In this, I find comfort.
Just last week, I invited some friends over for dinner around the kitchen table, to what seemed to be an ordinary gathering. Nothing too grand was awaiting my guests on their plates, simply grilled chicken, rice, and a summer salad. Yet, with music playing from the living room, the young adults at the table gave updates on their afternoons. One filled the air with his soccer aspirations, eyes lighting up when he told us that he got accepted to the high school varsity team. Another spoke about becoming a college freshman and the excitement that awaited her. Rather than reflecting on what had been accomplished this summer, they kept adding. They kept gazing towards the future. And every summer, that’s what the season affords us. It allows family and friends to be hopeful of the future with a childish arrogance and naiveté. Even the adults, myself included, shifted the conversation towards the Olympics, our hopes riding on a certain country or athlete.
Then Ping-Pong was broached. Once Ping-Pong was brought up—that was the end of dinner. The kids cleared the dishes and dashed for the dining room table. The boys scrambled for the portable set, and with that our own Olympics began. The light clicking from side to side was much less tension filled than the real competitions. However, I think that there was more teasing involved. Laughter filled the room whenever someone would completely miss. The ball bounced too quickly for the competitor to even see, leaving him stunned. Although my favorite was when one of the adults would butt in by throwing another ball into play or needing suddenly grab a book during midgame that was on the other side of the table.
Standing there, watching the evening unfold, I couldn’t have been more pleased. At that moment, we were grounded by our mundane to-do lists in the backs of our minds, yes. However, we were able to enjoy the youthful attitude that summer affords us all; we were able to take full advantage of summer’s version of family style: A style bursting with life, opportunity and daydreaming. And although autumn in fast approaching, I embrace the next chapter, the future, my next to-do list.
I find resolve in the idea that we continue to make the seasons worthwhile.