Twelve summers ago, my days were spent dashing between fences and through neighbors’ yards, trying to outsmart the cops or robbers. Then my best friend, Michelle, and I would ride around on our bikes, wearing our matching bright pink helmets that were adorned with stars, or other days we would put on our swim suits and sprint through the waterfall in my front yard — only to be distracted by Joe, our friendly neighborhood ice cream man.
The 4th of July parade was never missed and the 4th of July neighborhood BBQ was an annual tradition, cherries never went unpicked, dinners were eaten in the backyard with the red-checkered tablecloth, camping at Lincoln Rock in Wenatchee was a must, friendships consisted of hours of sardines, hide and seek, spinning in the front yard, trampolines, chalk, matching jellies, and secret hand shakes.
Years went on and summers stayed relatively the same with the addition of another friend, also named Michelle, walks to the corner store for 10¢ candy, a camping trip missed once or twice, water balloon fights, a fort in the back of my grandpa’s old pickup truck, and a few more fashion pollies to add to our collection.
Then I blinked, and I was older. Fashion pollies are in the attic. I work too much to have time for camping. I don’t remember the last time I played hide and seek, and I don’t even own a bike anymore.
This summer we all have jobs. I’m coaching the swim team that I used to swim for. Some friends are a hundred or thousands of miles away, not just a few blocks away. And other friends have boyfriends. We’re no longer crushing on the cute boys from 80’s chick flicks. Our thoughts have turned from “do you want to ride bikes or play hide and seek,” to “how am I going to pay off my loans.” It’s funny how time changes things.
I guess I’ve already grown up, but sometimes it still feels like I just abandoned my childhood with so much growing up still to do. Growing up was inevitable, but it’s still just as surprising.