Um, What Did I Do This Summer?

School began this week for my kids, after what felt like the longest four weeks ever, after all camps wrapped up mid-August. A few days before school began, we ran into my daughter’s second grade teacher at the grocery store, and after all the hugs and happy to see yous, she asked my daughter what she did this summer. After a long “ummmmmmmm,” my daughter tentatively said, “We went camping?”

I nearly had an aneurysm, if only because this was an amazing summer filled with many adventures, and the camping trip to Memorial Park was among the least of it. Our summer looked something like this:

We traveled New England for two weeks, came home to four weeks of amazing Camp Galileo, headed south to Disneyland, Legoland, SeaWord, the San Diego Zoo, then to Solvang, San Luis Obispo, camping at Memorial Park, Santa Cruz, Giants games, and trips to grandma’s house. It was a summer packed full of activities and – I’d hoped – memories. The only thing that Clover could recall was camping, and probably because we’d just seen a friend who’d asked about the camping trip. Clover’s teacher said she was probably nervous after I casually prompted her with, “Remember Martha’s Vineyard?”

At home this week, when she wasn’t nervous, she wrote out three things she did this summer for a class assignment. I asked what she wrote and she answered: Built Hogwarts (Lego set), went camping and got stung by wasps, and (I held my breath) went to Martha’s Vineyard. Thank God that the most expensive memory of our summer may be sticking. Clearly our tour of Harvard was not life altering for her. A friend said her daughter passed over their bigger summer highlights to write, “got a mani/pedi.”

Hopefully the tremendous number of photos from the summer will reinforce the memories, but this has been a reminder that I cannot control what my daughter remembers from her childhood. Hopefully she remembers the thrill of grabbing the brass ring on the carousel in Martha’s Vineyard, or maybe she’ll remember that we allowed, nay encouraged, her to add her chewed gum to the walls of Bubble Gum Alley in San Luis Obispo, but it could be she only remembers that she finally earned the Lego Hogwarts castle. On the bright side, she didn’t recall the many fights with her brother, which truly dominated the summer.

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